The Nut Garden

לקוטים מזוהר (Gleanings of Zohar)

Tag: Ba’al ha-Sullam

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

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 Work 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 properties 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 properties 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 side and the second is the mental side 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 above 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 above 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 defined 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 concept 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 altogether tolerate it, 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 order the division of property justly, meaning give to the negligent and naive a substantial portion of the part that the industrious and the driven have, then these powerful and initiating people will certainly not rest until they overthrow the government that enslaves the great ones, the energetic ones, 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 the 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 side 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 collect all the pleasures one feels during his seventy years of life and put it on one side, and collect all the pain and sorrow one feels 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 in 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.

The Nation by Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag (Ba’al ha-Sullam)

Jerusalem, 4 Sivan, 5700 (10 June, 1940)

Our intention

This newspaper, הַאֻמָּה (ha-ummah), The Nation, is something novel on the Jewish street. It is an “inter-partisan paper.” You may ask, “What is an ‘inter-partisan paper,’ how can there be a paper serving all parties, in spite of all their opposition and differences?” Indeed, it is an entity born in dire straits, through tortuous labor-pains, from amidst the venom of hatred that afflicted the nations of the world to wipe us off the face of the earth, the destruction of millions of our brethren, and they are prepared to do even more. Their sadistic urge is insatiable, and the disaster is twofold, since we must not delude ourselves believing that all this is but a passing, transitory phenomenon, as with our past experiences in history, that when a certain nation erupted over us, we found a substitute in another.

Now things are very different. Not only are we simultaneously attacked from all directions, but even the most developed nations have shut their doors to us without any sense of mercy or compassion, and in such a ruthless way that is without precedent in the whole of human history, even in the most barbaric of times. It is clear, save for relying on miracles, that our existence as individuals and as a nation teeters between life and death. And the rescue is if we find the required tactic, a great scheme whose path is only found in imminent danger, and which can tip the scale in our favor—to give us a safe haven here [in the land of Israel] for all our brethren in the diaspora, as everyone says it is, at present, the only place of refuge. Then a path to life will be open to us, to somehow carry on in spite of the hardship. And if we miss the chance and do not rise as one, with the tremendous effort required in a time of danger, to ensure our staying in the Land, then the facts on the ground pose a great threat, since things are progressing in favor of our enemies, who seek to wipe us off the face of the earth.

It is also clear that the tremendous effort that the rugged path ahead demands of us mandates unity that is as hard as steel, from every part of the nation, without exception. If we do not go out with united ranks toward the mighty powers standing in our way to harm us, we will find that our hope is doomed from the outset. And after all this, each individual and faction sits carefully guarding its own possessions without any concession. And under no circumstances do they desire national unity in a way this grave hour necessitates for us all. Thus, we are sunk in indifference, as though nothing has happened.

Try to imagine that if some nation showed us the door—as is so common these days—it is then certain that none of us would consider our factional allegiance, since the hardship would mold us all into one clump, in order to defend ourselves or to get up and flee by land or sea. Had we sensed the real danger we would undoubtedly be united properly without any difficulty. Under these circumstances we met here [in the land of Israel], a small group of us, from every stream, people who feel a terrible whip against their backs as though it had already materialized. We have undertaken to publish this paper, which we believe will be a trustworthy channel through which to convey our feeling to the entire nation, in every stream and faction, none excluded. By so doing, the differences and the narrow-minded factionalism can be nullified. More precisely, they would be silenced and give way to what precedes them [i.e., a history of national unity], and we will then all be able to join together into a single solid body politic, capable of protecting itself at this critically important time.

And although this danger is known to us all, perhaps it is yet to sufficiently develop in the public, as it truly is. If the public had felt it, they would have shaken off the dust of factionalism long ago to the degree that it obstructs the unification of our ranks. If this is not so, it is only because this is still not felt by the majority. Therefore, we have undertaken the publication of this paper, to stand guard, warn of the trouble, explaining it to the public, until all segregating elements are silenced, and we will be able to face our enemy with united ranks, and give it its due response in time. Moreover, we are confident that among us there are still those who probe hearts, who can provide a successful plan to unite all factions in the nation. From experience, we have learned that specifically those people go unnoticed and have no audience. In this paper, we are willing to make room for anyone who carries a promising solution for uniting the nation, to publicize it and give it a voice.

In addition to what has already been said, by publishing this paper, we aim to preserve our ancient culture of two thousand years, since before the ruin of our country. We hope to reveal it, removing the accretion of many years in exile among the nations, so that our noble and pure Jewish nature will be recognized again, as it was long ago. This will bring us the greatest benefit: we will be able to find a way of connecting our diaspora mode of thinking with that [former] glorious time, and redeem ourselves from having to borrow from others.

Individual and nation

We human beings are social creatures. Since we cannot satisfy our vital needs without assistance from others, the partnership of many is necessary for our existence. This is not the place to explore the development of the nations, but we can suffice with examining reality as it appears to our eyes. Indeed, it is a fact that we cannot satisfy our needs by ourselves, and we need a social life. Hence, individuals were forced to unite into a union, called “nation” or “state,” in which everyone engages in his own trade, some in agriculture, and some in crafts. They connected through the trade of their products. Thus nations were formed, each with its unique character—in material life and in cultural life.

Observing life, we can see that the process of a nation is just as the process of an individual. The function of each and every individual within the nation is like the function of organs in a single body. There must be absolute harmony among the organs of each individual: the eyes see and the brain is assisted by them to think and to confer, then the hands labor and the legs walk. Thus, each stands guard, awaiting its function. Similarly, the organs that comprise the body of the nation—counselors, employers, workers, deliverers and so forth—should function in absolute harmony. This is vital for a nation’s normal life and continued existence.

As the natural death of an individual results from disharmony of one’s organs, a nation’s natural decline results from some obstruction that occurs among its organs, as our Sages testify, “Jerusalem was destroyed only because of the שִׂנְאַת חִנָּם (sinat ḥinnam), groundless hatred, that existed in the generation” (Tosafot, Bava Metsi’a 2). At that time, the nation was plagued and died, her organs scattered in every direction. Therefore, it is a must that every nation be firmly united within, that every individual within her be attached to one another by instinctual love. And every individual should feel that the well being of the nation is one’s own well being, and the nation’s flourishing is one’s own flourishing. One should be willing to give his all to the nation whenever needed. Otherwise, the right to exist as a nation in the world is doomed from the outset.

This does not mean that everyone in the nation must be so without exception. Rather, it means that the people of a given nation, who sense the harmony, are the ones who constitute the nation, and the measure of the nation’s well being and sustainability are measured according to their quality. After a critical mass of individuals is secured for the ongoing existence of the nation is found, there can be a certain number of loose limbs, which are not connected to the body of the nation to the aforementioned degree, since the foundation is already secured without them. Hence, in ancient times, we do not find unions and societies without kinship among their members, since the primal love necessary for the existence of society, is found only in families that are the offspring of a single father. However, in successive generations there were already societies united under the “state,” without any familial or racial ties. Now the only connection of an individual to the state is no longer a natural, primal connection, but rather stems from a common need where each individual joins with the collective making a single body, which is the state. And the state protects the body and the possessions of each individual with all the power of a state.

Indeed, the transition in which successive generations moved from a natural nation to an artificial state—from ties that stem from primal love, to ties that stem from a common need—does not require anything from the conditions necessary in a natural ethnic state. The rule is that as every healthy individual has complete control over his organs, which is based solely on love, because the organs cheerfully obey without any fear of punishment, the state should totally dominate every individual within it with respect to their general needs, based on a love and instinctual devotion of individual for collective. This is the most expedient force, sufficient to move individuals toward the needs of the collective.

However, domination based on coercion and punishment is too weak a force to move every individual enough to guard the public’s needs. The public, too, will weaken and will not be able to carry out its commitment of guarding and securing each and every individual’s body and possessions. And we are not concerned with the form of governance of the state, whether autocratic, democratic, or socialist. They do not alter the essence whatsoever of the establishment of the power of social unity. A nation cannot be founded, much less persist, except through ties of social love.

It is a bitter shame to admit that one of the most precious merits we lost to exile, indeed the most important of them, is the loss of an awareness of [our] nationality, meaning that natural sense which connects and sustains any nation. The threads of love that connect the nation, which are so natural and primitive in all nations, have decayed and detached from our hearts—they are gone. And worst of all, even the little we have left of a national love is not instilled in us positively, like it is in every nation. Rather, it exists within us on a negative basis, in the common suffering that each of us endures being a member of this nation. This has embedded within us a national awareness and closeness, as with fellow-sufferers. This is an external cause. As long as this external cause joins and blends with our natural national awareness, an odd sort of national love is engendered, sparked as it is from this jumble, unnatural and incomprehensible. And most importantly, it is totally unfit for its task. Its measure of warmth suffices only for a short burst, but without the capacity with which we can be rebuilt as a nation that is self sufficient. This is because a union that relies on an external cause is not a national union whatsoever.

In this sense we are like a pile of nuts forced together by an enveloping sack—our degree of unity fails to unite us into a single body, indeed each movement the sack undergoes produces tumult and separation. Thus, we consistently form new unions with only limited cooperation. The fault being that we lack the inner unity. Our entire power of unity derives only from external accidents. This pains us to the heart [cf. Marx, Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte 7, p. 338].

Indeed, a spark of nationalism was preserved within us to its fullest measure, but it has dimmed and become inert. It has also been greatly harmed by the admixture it received from outside, as we have said. It does not yet enrich us, and the reality is very bitter. Our only hope is to thoroughly establish a fresh national education, to reveal and ignite once more the natural national love that has dwindled within us. To revive once more the national muscles, as it were, which have not been active in us for two millennia, with every means suitable to this end. Then we will be assured that we have a natural, reliable foundation to be rebuilt and to continue our existence as a nation, qualified to carry itself like all nations of the world.

This is a precondition for any action. At first a foundation must be built in a manner sufficiently sound to carry the load it is meant to. Then the building of the structure begins. But shame on those who build structures without a sufficiently solid basis! Not only do they not build anything, they put themselves and the others near them at risk, for the structure will fall with the slightest movement, its parts scattering in every direction. Here I must stress the aforementioned national education: Although I intend to plant great love among individuals of the nation in particular and for the entire nation in general—to the utmost degree—this is not at all similar to chauvinism or fascism. We abhor them, and my conscience is completely free of them. Despite the apparent similarity in language, since chauvinism is nothing but excessive national love, they are in essence as far from one another as black is from white. 

In order to easily perceive the difference between them, we can compare them with the measures of egoism and altruism in an individual. As was stated above, the process of the nation is very similar to the process of the individual with all of his particular details. This is a general key by which to see all the national laws without turning right or left, even a hair’s breadth. Clearly, the quality of egoism inherent in every creature is a necessary condition for the actual existence of that creature. Without it, it would not be a separate and distinct being in itself. Yet, this should not deny the quality of altruism in a person whatsoever. The only thing needed is to mark distinct boundaries between them: The law of egoism must be kept in all its power, to the extent that it concerns one’s minimal existence. And concerning any surplus of that quality, permission is granted to waive it for the well-being of one’s fellow.

Naturally, anyone who acts in this manner is to be considered exceptionally altruistic. However, one who gives up his minimal share, too, for the benefit of others, and thus risks his life, this is totally unnatural and cannot be kept, save perhaps once in life. The excessive egoist, who has no regard at all for the well-being of others, is abhorrent in our eyes, as this is the substance from which pillagers, murderers, and all who are corrupt are made. It is similar with national egoism and altruism: the national love, too, must be embedded in all the individuals in the nation, no less than the egoistic love in a person for his own needs, sufficient to sustain the existence of the nation as such, in order to carry itself. And the surplus of that minimal amount can be dedicated to the well-being of the whole of humanity, without any distinction of nation or race.

Conversely, we utterly despise the excessive national egoism that shows no regard for the well-being of others. They that plunder and murder other nations for their own pleasure, which is called chauvinism. Thus, those who completely retire from nationalism and become cosmopolitan for humane, altruistic motives are making a fundamental error, since nationalism and humanism are not at all contradictory. It is therefore evident that national love is the basis of any nation, just as egoism is the basis of any individual. Without it, it would impossible to exist in the world. Similarly, national love among the citizens of a nation is the basis of any nation’s independence. This is the sole reason for it’s continued existence, or it’s ceasing to exist.

For this reason, this should be the first concern in the revival of our nation. This kind of love is not presently in our midst. We have lost it in our wandering among the nations for the past two thousand years. Only individuals have gathered here, without any ties of pure national love among them. Rather, this one is connected through a shared language, that one through a shared homeland, another through a shared religion, and yet another through a shared history. They all want to live here according to the manner by which they lived in the nation from which they came. They do not take into account that there it was a nation founded by its own members before he entered it, and which he took no active role in establishing.

However, when a person goes up to the land of Israel, where there is no predetermined order that will suffice for a nation to function on its own, we have no other national substance on which we can rely—[sadly] we have no wish for it. Rather, here we must rely entirely on our own building. And how can we acheive this when there is no natural national connection to unite us for this task? These loose ties—language, religion, and history—are important, and no one denies their worth. However, they are still totally insufficient to rely on as a basis for the independent existence of our nation. In the end, all we have here is a gathering of strangers, descendents of cultures of the seventy nations, each making a stage for himself, his spirit, and his inclinations. There is nothing basic that unites us all from within into a single whole.

I know that there is one thing that is common to all of us: the escape from bitter exile. However, this is only a superficial union, like the sack that holds nuts together, as we said already. This is why I say we must establish special education for ourselves by means of widespread circulation, in order to instill in each of us a feeling of national love, both between individual to individual, and from the individual to the whole. To rediscover the national love that was instilled in us since the time we were on our land as a nation among nations.

This endeavor precedes all others because besides being the foundation, it affords stability and success in any other undertakings that we wish to perform in this field.

The name of the nation, the language, and the land

We should look at the name of our nation. We have grown accustomed to calling ourselves עִבְרִי (‘ivri), “Hebrew,” while our usual names, יְהוּדִי (yehudi), “Jew,” or יִשְׂרָאֵל (yisra’el), “Israel,” have fallen out of use. So much so that to distinguish the jargon from the language of the nation we call the language of the nation עִבְרִית (‘ivrit), “Hebrew,” and the jargon, יְהוּדִית (yehudit), “Jewish.”

In the Bible we find the name “Hebrew” employed only by the nations, especially the Egyptians: See, he has brought us אִישׁ עִבְרִי (ish ‘ivri), a Hebrew man, to play with us (Genesis 39:14); or, And there was with us נַעַר עִבְרִי (na’ar ‘ivri), a Hebrew lad (ibid. 41:12); or, This is one of the children of הָעִבְרִים (ha-’ivrim), the Hebrews (Exodus 2:6). The Philistines also use this name: Lest הָעִבְרִים (ha-’ivrim), the Hebrews, make sword or spear! (1 Samuel 13:19). We also find it used between the nations and us, such as in the war of Saul with the Philistines, when he declared, Let the Hebrews hear! (ibid., 4), and וְעִבְרִים עָבְרוּ (ve-’ivrim ‘avru), and Hebrews had crossed, the Jordan (ibid., 7) [cf. Joshua 24:2; see Rabbi Naḥman of Bratslav, Liqqutei Moharan 1:64b]. We also frequently find the name “Hebrew” in close proximity to slaves, such as a Hebrew slave or a Hebrew slavegirl and so forth. However, in truth, we will never encounter the name “Hebrew” in the Bible but only one of the two names, yisra’el, “Israel,” or yehudi, “Jew.”

There was most likely a famous ancient nation that went by the name “Hebrew,” as is written, Shem, the father of all the sons of עֵבֶר (‘ever), Eber (Genesis 10:21)—indicating Noah’s son as the father of that nation. Abraham the patriarch was from that nation, which is why the nations called him Abram the Hebrew, as is written, And told Abram the Hebrew (ibid. 14:13). For this reason, before Israel became a nation among nations, they were called “Hebrews,” after the nation of Abraham the patriarch, the Hebrew.

Although the Israelites were distinguished in Egypt as a separate nation, as is written: Look, the people of the sons of Israel is more numerous and vaster than we. Come, let us be shrewd with them lest they multiply (Exodus 1:9). That name, however, is the name of a tribe, and not a nation, for they became a nation only after they entered the land of Israel. From this we must conclude that this is why the nations did not wish to call us the nation of Israel even after we had entered the Land, so as not to admit our existence as a nation. They emphasized this by calling us “Hebrews,” as they had called us prior to entering the Land.

It is not by chance that the name “Hebrews” is not found in the Bible and in subsequent literature, except in relation to slaves and slavegirls, to whom the name “Hebrew” is always attached. But we never encounter a “slave of Israel” or a “Jewish slave.” This juxtaposition is probably a relic of the Egyptian bondage, which we are commanded to remember: And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:15).

Even today most nations refer to us as “Jews” or “Israelis,” and only the Russian nation still calls us “Hebrews.” Supposedly, those haters of Israel among them employ this term with the intention of rejecting [Jewish] nationalism, just like the ancient peoples. It seems they delved into the meaning of this name far more than we who have foolishly adopted it due to it’s being employed in the Russian language. It follows from all of this that if we want to respect ourselves we should stop using the name “Hebrew” with regards to any free person among us.

Indeed, with regards to the name of the language, if we had an historic source, a language that the ancient Hebrew nation spoke, then perhaps we could call it “Hebrew.” Yet, I have not found any proof that this ancient nation spoke this language. Thus, we should consider the Talmud, which is closer to the source than we are by fifteen centuries. For them, it was unanimously accepted that the ancient Hebrews did not use this language at all. They said, “Originally Torah was given to Israel in כְּתָב עִבְרִי (ketav ‘ivri), paleo-Hebrew script, and in the holy language; later, in the times of Ezra, Torah was given in כְּתָב אַשּׁוּרִי (ketav ashuri), [square] Assyrian script, and Aramaic language. [Finally,] Israel selected the Assyrian script and the holy language, leaving the paleo-Hebrew script and Aramaic language for the commoners…” (BT Sanhedrin 21b). Thus, we learn from their words that only the letters have come to us from the Hebrews, but not the language, because they said, “Assyrian script and the holy language,” and not “paleo-Hebrew script and language.”

Also, we do find: “[A scroll containing] Hebrew text written in תַּרְגּוּם (targum), Aramaic translation, or an Aramaic translation written in Hebrew, or [either] in paleo-Hebrew script [and not Assyrian script], does not defile the hands” (BT Megillah 8b). Thus, they emphasized, “Aramaic translation written… in paleo-Hebrew script.” They are not saying, “Aramaic translation written in Assyrian script, and in paleo-Hebrew script,” as the Mishnah says (see M Yada’im 4:5). This teaches us that only the [paleo-Hebrew] script is attributed to the Hebrews, and not the language. Also, there is no evidence from the words of the Mishnah because it seems that here there was Roman censorship of the text. And when they were rehearsing Mishnah [i.e., committing to memory], they were fittingly precise.

Conversely, we find that several times the Tanna’im referred to the language as “the holy language.” As is written, “Whoever lives in the land of Israel and says the recitation of Shema morning and night, and speaks the holy language is a son of the world to come” (Sifre Deuteronomy 333). Also, we learn from Rabbi Me’ir, “whoever is permanently in the land of Israel and speaks the holy language…”.

Even if we assume that we can find some ancient source that the Hebrews spoke this language, it does not obligate us to name this language after them, since there is not a trace of this nation among the living. As we have already stated, this name does not add to our national dignity, only our enemies have attached it to us, to reject and make light of our image and our national treasures. Therefore, we should also avoid taking after the English language, which calls the nation “Jews,” and the language “Hebrew.” We should also determine which name suits us best: “Jews” or “Israelis.” The name, “Israel,” stems from our father, Jacob, who, as is written, is named as an expression of power and honor: Not Jacob shall your name hence be said, but Israel, for you have striven with God and men, and won out (Genesis 32:29). It is after him that we are called Israel.

However, after King Solomon, the nation split in two: the ten tribes, which ordained Jeroboam son of Nebat, and the two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, which remained under the kingship of Rehoboam, son of Solomon. The name, “Israel,” remained with the ten tribes, and the two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, took for themselves the name, “Jews,” as we find in the story of Esther: There was אִישׁ יְהוּדִי (ish yehudi), a Jew, in Shushan the capital, and his name was Mordecai son of Jair son of Shimei son of Kish, a Benjaminite man (Esther 2:5). Thus, the tribe of Benjamin also called themselves יְהוּדִים (yehudim), “Jews.”

The ten tribes were exiled from the land long before the exile of Judah, and since then there has been no trace of them. The exile of Judah, who were exiled to Babylon, returned to the Land after seventy years of exile and rebuilt the Land. This is why throughout the period of the Second Temple, the name “Jews” is mentioned most often, and the name “Israel,” is mentioned only rarely, under special circumstances. We, the descendants of the exile of the Second Temple, are also called mainly by the name, “Jews,” since we are from the exile of the Second Temple, the descendants of the two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, who gave themselves the name, “Jews.” Accordingly, we should judge that the name of our nation is “Jews” and not “the nation of Israel” or “Israel,” which is the name of the ten tribes.

And concerning the language, we should certainly choose the “Jewish language,” and not the “language of Israel,” for we do not find in the Bible this construct state of “Israeli language,” as opposed to the mentioning of “Jewish”: did not know how to speak יְהוּדִית (yehudit), Judahite (Nehemiah 13:24), and also, Speak, pray, to your servants Aramaic, for we understand it, and do not speak Judahite in the hearing of the people who are on the wall (2 Kings 18:26).Rather, we should emphasize that this is why they called their language yehudit, Judahite, since the people of King Hezekiah were called yehudim, “Jews,” as well as those who came from the exile in Babylon. But the ten tribes, which were called יִשׂרְאֵלִים (yisrelim), “Israelis,” also called their language שָׂפָה הַיִשׂרְאֵלִית (safah ha-yisrelit), “the Israeli language.” And yet, even if we assume that it is so, it is still no reason for us, the descendants of Judah and Benjamin, to call our language “Israeli.” In summary, both the nation and the language must be given only the name Judah. The nation should be called “Jews,” and the language, “Jewish.” The jargon language should be called אִידִּישׁ (yiddish), “Yiddish.” Only the land should be called “the land of Israel,” since it is the inheritance of all the tribes.

A critique of Marxism in light of the new reality: a solution to the question of the unification of the nation above its factions

I have been asked to offer a solution, according to my view, regarding the painful problem of uniting all streams and factions on one basis. And immediately I must admit that I have no solution to this question in the way it was asked—it will never have a solution. Wise men of all nations and throughout the ages have probed it, but have not found a natural solution that is accepted by every stream among them. Many have suffered, indeed many will yet suffer, before they find the golden path that does not conflict with the currents among them. The difficulty of the matter is that man cannot give up his ideals whatsoever, since he can make concessions when it comes to his material life, to the extent that it is necessary for his physical existence, but it is not so with ideals. By nature idealists will give all that they have for the triumph of their idea. And if they must give up their ideals, even a bit, it is not an honest concession. Rather, they remain alert, waiting for a time when they can reclaim what is theirs. Therefore, such concessions cannot be trusted.

It is even more so with an ancient nation—a civilization that is thousands of years old. Its ideals have already developed in it far more than in recently developed nations. Thus there is no hope that they are be able to concede, even a bit. It is unwise to think that in the end the more just idea will defeat other ideas, since over time they are all right, for “[(Son of Azzai) used to say: Do not scorn any person and do not disdain anything;] for there is no person who does not have his hour, and there is no thing that does not have its place” (M Avot 4:3).

Because of this ideas keep reemerging, ideas that were ruled out in ancient times reemerged in the Middle Ages, and having been ruled out in the Middle Ages, they have been revived in our generation. This shows that they are all correct, yet, none of them is everlasting. Although the nations of the world suffer terribly from this clash, they still have a strong back allowing them to endure this terrible burden. Somehow it does not immediately threaten their existence. But what can a poor nation do when its entire existence depends on the crumbs and leftovers that the nations throw them according to their mercy once they are satisfied? Their back is too weak to bear the weight of this, especially during this fateful time when we are standing on the very edge of the abyss—it is not a time for vanity, disputes, and internal strife among brothers.

Due to the urgency of the hour, I have a genuine solution to offer, which I think is worthy of being accepted, and which will unite all the factions among us into a single bloc. However, before I present my solution I would like to put the minds of readers at ease who undoubtedly want to know my own political bias. I must admit that I see the socialist ideal of equal and just division as the truest. For our planet Earth is rich enough to provide for all of us. Why do we battle a tragic life which has ruined our lives for generations? Let us divide the labor and its produce equally and put an end to all the troubles! After all, what pleasure do even the millionaires among us derive from their possessions if not financial security for themselves and their descendants? And with a government of just division they will also have the same certainty, to an even greater extent.

And should you say that they will not have the honor that they had while they were property owners, that, too, is nothing. For those staunch property owners are still capable of procuring honor in another field since the gates of competition and honor will never be locked. Indeed, as truthful as this ideal is I cannot promise us even an iota of paradise. On the contrary, a tremendous hell is guaranteed, and the living proof that is Russia has already taught us. And yet, this does not negate the veracity of this ideal. Its only fault is that for us it is unripe. In other words, our generation is not yet capable of digesting this [form of] government of just and equal division, since we have not had enough time to develop morally in order to accept the slogan, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” (Critique of the Gotha Program). This is like the offence of first man: our ancient sages have explained that the offence was because he ate of fruit before it had ripened sufficiently [see Zohar 1:73a]. For that small offence the entire world was sentenced to death—teaching us that this is the cause of every detriment in the world.

People do not know how to mind and watch a thing to see if it has ripened sufficiently. Although the content of a matter may be beneficial, we must still probe more deeply to see if it is ripe, and if those who will taste of it have grown sufficiently to digest it. While they are still developing what is truthful and beneficial becomes harmful and deceitful in their stomachs. Thus, they are doomed to die, for he who eats unripe fruit dies for his offence. In light of these matters, the Russian entanglement has not proven that the socialist ideal is unjust at its core, since they need more time to accept the truth and justice of this [ideal]. As yet they are incapable of behaving according to it. They are only harmed by their lack of development and qualification for this ideal [cf. Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 250–51].

It is worthwhile to give heed to the words of comrade M. Botkovsky (see Davar, № 4507). He asks, “Why would a politician, a member of the Socialist movement, not do as the physicist, who when faced with some contradiction in the ironclad laws of his theory does not shy away from abandoning it? First, he carefully tries to amend it, but in the end when he can no longer square it with reality, he is ready to abandon it.” And he explains, “During the ruin of the international Labor Movement, we must purge biases. When facts spell out defeat, we must return to the school bench and examine the way forward and its principles; we must soberly recognize the burden on the shoulders of those who carry on. This is the scientific approach when hemmed in by contradictions between the new reality and the theory that explained the old reality. Only a conceptual breakthrough enables new science, and a new life.” He concludes, “Unless we ignore our conscience, we must declare that the time has come for a fundamental debate—a time of labor pains. Now is the time for the leaders of the movement to stand up and answer the question: ‘What does socialism mean today? What is the way the camp must go?’” I doubt if anyone in the movement will answer him, or even appreciate his words. It isn’t easy for a hundred-year-old who has so far been successful in his research to all at once stand up, cross out his prior theory, sit at the desk, and take up his research again like that physicist, as comrade Botkovsky rightly demands of the socialist movement.

Yet, how can you ignore his words? While it is possible to sit idly by the ruin of the international Labor Movement, since they are not facing immediate destruction, they are still secured the minimum standard of living of indentured servants and slaves. And it is not so concerning the Hebrew Labor Movement and the danger it faces. They are truly on the brink of annihilation under the slogan of the enemy To destroy, to kill, and to wipe out [all the Jews, from young lad to old man,] babes and women, [on a single day] (Esther 3:13) as it was during the time of Queen Esther.

We must not compare our state of ruin with the ruin of the movement internationally. If we were only sold to slavery and indentured servitude, we would keep still, like they do. Yet, we are denied even the security of the life of slaves. Thus, we must not let the moment escape us. We must attend school once again, reexamine the socialist ideal in light of the facts and contradictions that have surfaced in our days and not fear tearing down ideological fences, since nothing stands in the way of saving lives.

To that end, let us briefly review the evolution of socialism from its earliest stages. In general, there are three eras: The first was humanistic socialism based on the development of morality. It was aimed solely at exploiters. The second was based on the recognition of justice and injustice. It was aimed primarily at the exploited, to make them realize that workers are the true owners of the labor, and that the produce of society belongs to them. Since the workers are the majority in society, they were certain that once they realized that they are just, they would rise as one and take what is theirs, and establish a government of just and equal division in society. The third is Marxism, which succeeded more than any of them, and which is based on historical materialism. The great clash of creative-forces, of the workers and those who exploit them, the employers, necessitates that a society ultimately come to the brink of destruction. Then comes a revolution in production and distribution. The capitalist government is forced into ruin in favor of a proletariat government. In his view, this government was to emerge by itself, by way of cause and effect. But in order to usher in the end and the ensuing revolution still sooner, counsel must be sought, and obstacles must be placed before the bourgeois government.

Before I critique his theory, I must admit that of all its predecessors his theory is most just. After all, we are witnessing the great success it had, both in quantity and quality, throughout the world before it came to practical implementation among the many millions in Russia. Until then, almost every leader of humanity was drawn to it, and this is true testimony to the fitness of his theory. Besides, even theoretically, his words have merit, and no one has been able to contradict his view of history, that humanity is progressing slowly and gradually upward, as if on a ladder [cf. the rabbinic concept of יְרִידַת הַדוֹרוֹת (yeridat ha-dorot), decline of the generations]. Each step is but the negation of its former, hence each step that humanity has taken in political government is but a rejection of its preceding state.

The duration of every political phase is merely the time it takes to reveal its failures and wickedness. While exposing these, it makes way for a new state, free of these faults. Thus, the impediments that emerge in a given situation and demolish it are the very forces of human evolution, as they raise humanity to a more corrected state. And the faults in the next state bring humanity to a third and better state. Thus, the persistent negative forces that emerge in each state are the cause of human progress. Through them, humanity climbs the rungs of the ladder. [Negative forces] faithfully perform their duty, delivering humanity to the ultimate most desirable state, purified of any disgrace or blemish.

According to this historic process, [Marx] shows how the feudal government revealed its faults and was demolished, making way for the bourgeois government. Now it is time for the bourgeois government to reveal its faults and be demolished, making way for a government which is better still—the government of the proletariat, according to him. However, on this last point, where [Marx] promises that after the demolition of the bourgeois government a proletariat government will be established straightaway, here is the flaw in his theory. The current reality in front us denies it. He thought that the proletariat government would be the next step toward a bourgeois government, and thus predicted that by nullifying the bourgeois government, a proletariat one would be established straightaway. Yet, reality proves that the step following the demolition of the present government is that of Nazis or fascists.

Evidently, we are still in the intermediate stages of human development. Humanity has yet to reach the highest rung of the ladder. Who can guess how many rivers of blood are yet to be shed before humanity reaches the desired rung? In order to find a way out of this conundrum, we must thoroughly understand the aforementioned law of gradual development upon which [Marx] based his entire theory [see dialectical materialism]. We should know that this law comprises all of Creation. All of nature’s systems are based on it, organic and inorganic alike, up to the human species with all its ideal and base qualities.

With all that was said above, there is nothing that does not obey the ironclad law of gradual development resulting from the competition of these two forces with one another: a positive creative force, and a negative destructive force. They form and perfect all of reality, in general and in particular, through their harsh and perpetual battle with one another. As was already stated, the negative force appears at the end of every political phase, elevating it to a better state. Thus, these states unfold from one another until they reach their ultimate perfection.

Let us take planet Earth as an example: At the outset, it was merely a ball of fog-like gas. Through the force of gravity, over time, it concentrated its atoms into a narrow חוּג (ḥug), ring. As a result, the ball of gas became a liquid ball of fire. Over eons of terrible battles between these two forces the cooling force in Earth was finally triumphant over the force of liquid fire, and a cool thin crust hardened around the Earth. However, the planet had not yet become still due to the battle between the forces, and after some time the liquid force of fire overpowered, erupting into a great tumult from the bowels of Earth, rising and shattering the cold, hard crust to pieces, turning the planet back into a liquid ball of fire. Then an era of new battles began until the cooling force overpowered the force of fire once more, and a second cool crust hardened around the ball, thicker and more durable against the outbreak of fluids from within the ball. This time it lasted longer, but in the end, the liquid forces overpowered once again and erupted from the bowels of Earth, shattering the crust in pieces. Once more all was destroyed, becoming a liquid ball.

Thus was the dialectic interplay down through the eons, and each time the cooling force prevailed, the crust it made grew thicker. Finally, the positive forces overpowered the negative ones and assumed a total harmony: The liquids took their place in the bowels of Earth, and the cold crust became thick enough around them to enable the formation of organic life upon it, as it is today.

All organic bodies develop in the same way. From the moment they are planted until the end of their ripening, they undergo several hundred phases such as has been described with regard to Earth. It is these battles which yield the ripening of the fruit. Similarly, every living thing begins with a tiny drop. By means of gradual development and constant struggle, it finally becomes a big ox, fit for every manner of work, as it were, or a great man, fit for all his tasks.

However, there should be yet another distinction between the ox and man: Today, the ox has long since reached its final phase of evolution [cf. BT Bava Qamma 65b: “Rava said: A one-day-old ox is called ‘ox,’ as is written: When an ox or a sheep or a goat is born (Leviticus 22:27)”; Zohar 3:91b]. For us, however, the physical power is insufficient to deliver us to perfection since we also possess cognitive power thousands of times more valuable than our physical power. Thus, for humanity there is a sequence of gradual development, unlike any animal: the gradual evolution of human thought.

Also, being a social creature individual development is not sufficient. Rather, one’s ultimate perfection relies on the development of all members of society. With regards to the development of one’s intelligence, namely one’s ability to discern what is good or bad for him, though we must not think that man is still at the rung of primitive man, it is quite clear that we have yet to attain perfection. Rather, we are still in the midst of our development, still given to the battle between the positive and negative forces of Creation, which are faithful messengers in their mission of delivering humanity to its ultimate perfection.

As I have stated, since the socialist ideal is the most just of all, it requires a highly developed generation to realize it properly. Since today humanity is on the middle rungs of the ladder of development, still caught between the battle of the positive and negative forces of Creation, it is unfit for this lofty ideal. Rather, it is premature, like unripe fruit. Therefore, not only is it bitter to taste, but the negative force in it is also harmful, even poisonous. This is the predicament of that nation [Russia], and the reason it suffers so, since they are untimely and lack the basic qualities needed to actualize this just form of government.

Do not think that I have any spiritual idea regarding this, for Marx himself says the same thing: He admits that on the first rung of society, flaws are unavoidable. However, he promises that “In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life’s prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!” (Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program).

Thus, he, too, admits that it is hopeless to wait for a totally just form of government before humanity attains the highest rung, before labor itself becomes a vital need, meaning the life principle, and not for the purpose of provision. However, he concludes that while society is on a lower rung, it should still be conducted by communism—even with all its flaws. But as stated above, this is the stumbling block in his theory. Soviet Russia has already proven that an insufficiently developed society will turn communism into the worst form of government in the world. Moreover, he assumed that the subsequent state would be the workers’ government, but reality has demonstrated that the subsequent government is a Nazi or fascist government. This is a serious error. And worst of all it threatens specifically the Jewish People, without any differentiation of class. Indeed we must learn from history. First, the question arises: Such a leader who has shaken the world with his theory, how did he make such a serious error? What was his stumbling block? Indeed, this necessitates careful and sober consideration of his words.

As was stated above, the basis of his theory is historical materialism, in which society develops through competing forces by way of cause and effect, from state to state. When the negative force prevails, it demolishes that state, and a better state emerges in its place through the positive force. They continue to battle each other until eventually the positive force fully emerges. However, this means that the perfection of society is guaranteed by default, since the negative force will not retreat until it delivers it to perfection. It follows that we can sit idly by, waiting for the anticipated self-development. So why should he burden us with this tactic of his?

Indeed, it is a silly question since this is the difference between man and beast: animals rely entirely on nature. They are utterly incapable of elevating nature, or supporting themselves without it. Not so with man. He is endowed with an intellectual capacity through which he becomes free of the shackles of nature, elevating it. His way is to emulate Nature’s work and do likewise. He does not wait for chicks to hatch naturally, for the hen to come and warm the eggs. Instead, he builds a machine for himself that warms the eggs and hatches the chicks, as a hen does.

And if he does this with specific things, he will certainly do it with regard to the development of the whole of humanity. He will not rely on the competing forces, with him becoming victim to their clashing. Rather, he will advance Nature and thoroughly emulate its work in this development. He arranges a technique for himself in order to bring about the desired outcome in less time and with less effort.

This is what Marx wanted with his tactic: The organization, the class conflicts, and implementing obstacles to undermine the capitalist government. His tactic would ease the pains of the suffering subjects, and stomping on their backs. It would invigorate them to be their own subjects, and hasten the end of the backward regime to make room for the happy rule of the proletariat. In a word, the Marxist tactic turns the objects into subjects, establishing for them development as they wish. In summary, the basis is the nature of human development through causality, which we see is a natural engine for development. The tactic is a sort of artificial engine of human development, similar to a natural engine. The benefit of the tactic is saving time and minimizing misery.

Now we can begin the critique of his theory in a simple way. It is clear that when we want to produce a machine that replaces the work of Nature, we first need to closely observe Nature’s mechanism. Then we can set up an artificial mechanism, similar to the natural. For example, if we want to produce a machine that replaces a hen’s belly, which warms the eggs and hatches the chicks, we must first thoroughly understand Nature’s forces and manner of development, which operate in the hen’s belly. We observe them and produce a device similar to a hen’s belly, which can likewise hatch chicks.

So too concerning our matter. When we want to produce a device that will replace the engine of natural human development, here, too, we must first examine those two forces—positive and negative—that operate in nature. It is an engine by which nature performs the procedure of development. Then we, too, will know how to establish a tactic that is similar to the mechanism of Nature’s natural engine of development, and which will be just as successful in developing humanity. Clearly, if we misunderstand the mechanism of the natural engine, our substitute will be useless, since the whole idea is to mimic the natural ways of Creation and adapt artificial ones in their place.

To define the matters in original terms that will prevent any mistakes by any party, we should define the two forces—positive and negative—operating in the engine of human development by two names: “egoism” and “altruism.” I am not referring to moral terms which we use ordinarily. Rather, only to their material sense, meaning the extent to which they are embedded in the human body to the point that one can no longer liberate oneself from them. That is, with respect to their being active forces in a person: The egoistic force functions in him like קַרְנִי סֶנְטרוֹפֶּיטְלִים (qarni sentropetlim), centripetal rays, drawing inwards and concentrating within the body itself. And the altruistic force functions in him like קַרְנִי סֶנטרוֹפוּגלִים (qarni sentrofuglim), centrifugal rays, flowing from within the body outwards.

These forces exist in every fragment of reality, each according to its essence. They also exist in man, according to his essence. They are the determining factors of all our actions. There are actions that are caused by a force that serves an individual’s existence. This is a force which attracts to its center anything external which is of benefit. Were it not for this force the object itself would not exist. This is “egoism.”

Conversely, there are actions that are caused by a force which flows outward to the benefit of what is external. This force works to advantage of others, and it can be called “altruism.” Accordingly I have named the two forces that struggle with one another on the path of human development. I shall call the positive force, an “altruistic force,” and I shall call the negative force, an “egoistic force.” By the term, “egoism,” I am not referring to egoism according to its original meaning. Rather, I am referring to a narrow egoism. That is, originally egoism is nothing but self-interest, all of a person’s positive, individualistic power of existence. In that respect, it is not at odds with the altruistic force, although it does not serve it. However, it is the nature of egoism to hate and exploit others in order to make one’s own existence easier. Also, it is not abstract hatred, but one that appears in abusive acts toward one’s fellow for his own benefit. Growing ever darker by deceiving, cheating, robbing, and murdering. This is called “narrow egoism,” and in that respect it is at odds with—and the complete opposite from—love of others. It is a negative force that destroys society.

Its opposite is the altruistic force. This is society’s constructive force, since all that one does for another is done only by the altruistic force, as stated above. And it ascends in its rungs: the initial expression of this constructive force is having children and family life. The next [such expression] is benefiting relatives. The third is benefiting the state, and fourth is to benefit the entire world. The entire cause of social structuring is the altruistic force. As was already stated, these are the elements that operate in the natural engine of the development of humanity—the egoistic force, which is detrimental to society, and the altruistic, positive force, which is beneficial to society. In his emulation of the natural engine of development, Marx regarded only the results of these negative and positive forces, which are the building or destruction that take place in society. He planned his tactic according to them, but overlooked what causes these results.

This is similar to a physician not diagnosing the root cause of an illness, but healing the patient only according to his superficial symptoms. This approach always does more harm than good, since you must take both into account: the cause of the illness and the illness itself, and only then prescribe a successful remedy. That same deficiency exists in the Marxist tactic—he did not take into account subjective forces in society, but only what is constructive or flawed. As a result, the direction of his tactic was counterproductive, for while the productive is altruistic, the direction of the tactic was to the contrary. It is clear that the socialist government must be conducted in an altruistic direction, since the very words, “just division,” contain a purely altruistic ethos, and is totally devoid of egoism.

Egoism aims to exploit others entirely. As far as it is concerned, there is no justice as long as reality is not working to its own advantage. The very word, צֶדֶק (tsedeq), righteousness, means “social justice,” which is a concept in favor of the other. And to the same degree that it acknowledges the entitlement of the other, it necessarily abandons its own self-entitlement. It turns out that the very notion of “just division,” is an altruistic one. Realistically speaking, it is impossible to mend the rifts of a society with just division, unless through an exaggerated altruism. This is so since the reward for spiritual work is greater than that of physical work, and the work of the quick is more rewarding than the work of the slow, and a bachelor should receive less than one who has a family. Also, the hours of labor should be equal for all, and the produce of the labor should be equal for all. Indeed, how do we mend these rifts?

These are the main rifts, but they split into myriad more rifts, as appears before us in the Soviet play. The only way to mend them is through good altruistic expression, where the spiritual workers relinquish some of their share in favor of the physical workers, and the bachelors in favor of the married… or as Marx himself put it, “The labor itself becomes an imperative and not merely a means of provision.” This is nothing less than total altruism. And because a purposeful government must be altruistic by nature, it is necessary that the tactic that aims toward that objective should also be aimed in the same direction as the target, namely towards altruism.

However, in the Marxist tactic, we find the narrowest egoism. This is the opposite the direction of the target: nurturing hatred of the opposite class, implanting obstacles, demolishing the old regime, and cultivating in the workers a feeling that the entire world enjoys on the back of their work. All these overly intensify the narrow egotism among the workers. It completely deprives them of the altruistic feeling naturally inherent in them. And if the tactic moves in the opposite direction of the target outcome, how will one ever reach it? This engendered the contradiction between his theory and the new reality. He thought that the stage following the bourgeois government would be a socialist workers’ regime, but in the end we are living witnesses that if the democratic bourgeois government were to be demolished now, a Nazi and fascist regime would rise in its place straightaway. Also, it will not necessarily be through the present war, but whenever the democratic government is demolished, a fascist Nazi regime inherits it.

There is no doubt that if this happens the workers will be set back by a thousand years. They will have to wait for several regimes to arise by cause and effect before the world returned to today’s democratic bourgeois government. All this emerges from the egoistic tactic that was given to those subjects that should be the workers’ governance, and took the movement in an opposite direction from the intended outcome.

We should also take into account that all those who are ruining the natural process of just governance actually came from the proletariat and emerged from their midst, and not necessarily the Soviets, but the majority of Nazis were also initially pure socialists, as well as the majority of fascists. Even Mussolini himself was initially an enthusiastic socialist leader. This completes the picture of how the Marxist tactic has led the workers in the total opposite direction of the intended outcome.

Indeed, it is difficult to understand how such a straightforward matter could be overlooked by the creator of Marxist theory, especially since he himself determined that there is no remedy for communist society until “after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished.” Thus, it is clear that he was aware that a communist society without the members’ complete surrender of their shares in favor of the comrade is unsustainable.

And since he was aware of that altruistic element necessary for society, I assert that he did not intend to offer us a meaningful procedure by his tactic whatsoever. Rather, he intended primarily to hurry—through this tactic—the end of the present unjust government, on the one hand, and on the other hand, to organize the international proletariat and prepare them to be a strong, decisive force when the bourgeois government is [finally] demolished. These are fundamentals stages in facilitating the government of a communist society.

In that respect, his tactic is an invention of genius, the likes of which we do not find in history. And concerning the establishment of a happy society, he relied on history itself to complete it, for it was clear to him that in dire times, when the bourgeois government starts to die, the proletariat organization will find itself unprepared to assume government. At that time the workers will have to choose one of two options: one, either to destroy themselves and let the true destroyers, the Nazis and fascists, seize the helm of government, or two, find a good tactic by which to qualify the workers to take governance into their own hands. 

In his mind, he was certain that when we reach a state where the international proletariat forms a decisive power in the world, we will thank him for the validity of his theory, which has brought us thus far, and we ourselves will seek the way to continue moving toward the goal. Indeed, there has never been a inventor who did not leave the completion of his work to his successors.

If we delve further into his theory we discover that, in fact, he could not invent for us the tactic by which to complete the qualification of the workers, as they are two procedures that contradict one another. To create the fastest movement and destroy abusive governments, he had to employ the procedure in the direction of the narrowest egoism, meaning to develop profound hatred towards the class of abusers in order to increase the negative power into an instrument capable of demolishing the old government in the quickest possible time, and to organize the workers along the strongest ties. For this reason, he had to uproot and neutralize the altruistic force in the proletariat, whose nature is to tolerate and concede to its abusers. To qualify the workers in “practical socialism,” so they could assume the government de facto, he had to use the procedure in the altruistic direction, which contradicts the “organizational procedure.” Thus, he must have intended to leave this work for us.

He did not doubt our understanding or ability since the matter was so straightforward that a cooperative government is feasible only on an altruistic basis, so we would have to adopt a new tactic in the direction of altruism and qualify the workers to take governance into their own hands in a practical and sustainable manner. However, to comment on it, he found it necessary to depict for us the form of just government of the proletariat in the abbreviated words, “society [will] inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!” Thus, even a completely blind person would find these words to mean that just government is inconceivable except in an altruistic society in the fullest sense.

From this perspective, Marxism has not encountered any opposition due to the failed Russian experiment. And if Marxism has been arrested, it is only because its role in the first phase has been completed, namely organizing the international proletariat into a force. Now we must find a practical way to qualify the movement to actually acquire the government in its own hands. As stated before, the current procedure must be in the completely opposite direction from the previous tactic. Where we had cultivated excessive egoism, which was very successful in the first phase, we must now cultivate excessive altruism among the workers. This is utterly mandatory for the social nature of a socialist government. Thus, we will lead the movement with confidence in its practical role of acquiring the government into its own hands in its final form.

I am aware that it is not an easy task to completely reverse the direction of the movement so that all who hear it will be burned by it as if by boiling water. Yet, it is not as bad as it is seems. We can gain recognition for the movement through proper explanation that the interest of the class depends on this, “whether it persists or perishes,” whether to continue the Marxist movement or hand over the reigns of government to the Nazis and fascists—the most dangerous forces for a government of the workers, which pose a risk of being setback by a thousand years.

When the masses understand this, it is certain that they will easily adopt the new, practical tactic leading them to actual acquisition of the government. Who does not remember how the whole world anxiously awaited the successful end of the Soviet regime? And were they not successful, the whole world would undoubtedly be under the reins of a socialist government. Indeed, the Russians could not possibly succeed because the organizational direction to which the masses are accustomed is an egoistic one, which is necessary in the first phase, and by nature, it is a power that destroys the socialist government.

Before the theory is accepted, it is too soon to speak in any detail about the practical program of this direction, especially since my essay has become too long already. Briefly, we can say that we must set up such dissemination, scientifically and practically, that will be certain to impress in the public opinion that any member who does not excel in altruism is like a predator that is unfit to be among human beings, until he senses himself within society a murderer and a robber. If we systematically engage in circulating this matter using the appropriate manners, it will not require such a long process. Hitlerism has proven that within a short amount of time, an entire country has been turned upside down through propaganda, accepting his bizarre notion.

Now that facts of history have clarified the right way forward henceforth, I urgently appeal to our workers. As was already stated, the nations of the world may wait, especially now that there is global upheaval and we must first be rid of the Hitlerian danger. But we have no time to waste. I ask that you will promptly pay attention to this new theory that I have proposed, and which I call “practical socialism,” for until now the role of socialism, in my view, was merely “organizational socialism,” as stated above.

If my theory is accepted, we should also change the outward tactic, where instead of the old weapon of class hatred and hatred of religion, they will be given a new weapon—hatred of excessive egoism within. It is fit for its task from every vantage because not only will the opposite class be unable to defend itself using the dense shields of moral and religious dogmas, it will also uproot along the way various harmful weeds of Nazism and fascism that have taken root quite strongly among the proletariat itself, risking its existence, as stated above.

We should also take into account the beauty of this weapon, which is most enticing and can unite our youth around it. In fact, the change is not so much in the tactic, but rather only in the result. Until now, when they fought against the depriving of the class, the demonstrator always looks through the narrow possessive-egoistic perspective, since he is protecting his own possession. Thus, along with his battle, the excessive egoistic force expands in him, and the social justice warriors themselves are caught up in the same bourgeois perspective.

It is also very unlike the [property] owners’ approach, for they believe in their complete entitlement from every side, by law, religion, and ethics, protecting themselves by all the means. However, when fighting against the egoism of the owners using the broad perspective of an altruistic outlook, the result is that the power of altruism grows within them in proportion to the level of their struggle. Thus, the entitlement of the owners becomes very flawed and they cannot defend themselves, for this type of war relies heavily on the ethical and religious perception in the owners themselves.

Thus, my theory holds the key for national unity, for which we are so thirsty at this time. History itself has already broken many of the political divides among us, for now we can no longer distinguish between anti-Zionists, religious Zionists, secular Zionists, territorial ones and so forth. Now that all the hopes of breathing free air outside our country have been shattered, even the most devout anti-Zionists have become, by necessity, complete practical Zionists. Thus, in principle, the majority of rifts in out midst have been mended.

However, we are still suffering from two terrible divides: class divide and religious divide. We must not slight these whatsoever, nor can we hope to ever be rid of them. However, if my new theory of “practical socialism,” which I have suggested, is accepted by the movement, we will be rid once and for all of the class divide, too, which has been stuck in the nation’s back.

As was already stated, the new tactic takes much from religion, and does not aim at abusing offenders, but only at their offenses—only at the contemptible egoism within them. In truth, the same war will unfold in part within the movement, too, which will necessarily abolish class hatred and religious hatred. We will have the ability to understand one another and attain a complete unity of the nation with all its factions and streams, as this grave hour necessitates for us all. This is the guarantee of our victory on all fronts.

Writings for the Last Generation a Draft by Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag (Ba’al ha-Sullam)

The basis of my entire commentary is the רָצוֹן לְקַבֵּל (ratson le-qabbel), desire to receive, that is embedded in every creature, and which is in שִׁנוּי הַצּוּרָה (shinui ha-tsurah), disparity of form, with the Creator. Thus, the soul has separated from Him as a limb is separated from the body, since disparity of form in spirituality is like a cutting axe in material reality. Thus what the Creator wants from us is שִׁוּוּי הַצּוּרָה (shiuui ha-tsurah), parity of form—when we cleave to Him once more, as before we were created.

Our Sages said: Cling to His qualities, as He is merciful and so forth [see BT Shabbat 133b; Sotah 14a]. Meaning that we must transform our nature, which is the desire to receive, and adopt the quality of the Creator, which is only [a desire] to give, so that all our deeds will be only to give to our fellow and benefit him as best we can. Through this we come to the goal of דְבֵקוּת (devequt), cleaving, to Him, which is parity of form. What one is compelled to do for himself, namely the necessary minimum for himself and for his family’s sustenance, is not considered disparity of form, as “Necessity is neither to be condemned nor praised” (Rabbi Shelomoh ibn Adret, Ḥiddushei Aggadot ha-Shas on BT Niddah 16b). This is the great revelation that will only be revealed entirely in the days of the Messiah. When this teaching is accepted, we will be rewarded with complete redemption.

I have already said that there are two ways to find perfection: The path of Torah and the path of suffering. Hence, the Creator has bestowed technology on humanity, until we have invented the atom and the hydrogen bombs. If the total ruin that we are destined to bring upon the world is still not evident to the world, we can wait for a third world war, or a fourth. The bombs will perform their function and those remaining will have no choice but to take this work upon themselves, in which both individuals and nations do not serve themselves more than is necessary for their sustenance, while everything else they do is for the good of others. If all the nations of the world agree, there will be war no more, since no individual will be concerned with his own welfare whatsoever, but only with the welfare of others.

This law of parity of form is the Messiah’s teaching. Of this is said And it shall happen in future days… many nations shall go and say: Come, let us go up… for from Zion shall תוֹרָה (torah), teaching, come forth.… And He shall judge among many peoples (Micah 4:1–2)—the Messiah will teach them the service of the blessed Holy One through parity of form, which is the תּוֹרָה וּמִשְׁפָּט (torah u-mishpat), teaching and law, of the Messiah. And be arbiter to vast nations (ibid., 3)—he will teach them that if they do not take this service of the blessed Holy One upon themselves, all nations will be eradicated by war. However, if they do accept his teaching, it is said, And they shall grind their swords into plowshares [and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not raise sword against nation, nor shall they learn war anymore] (ibid.). If you take the path of Torah, and accept the antidote, very well. And if you do not, you will tread the path of suffering [see BT Shabbat 88a]. Wars will break out with atom and hydrogen bombs, and the entire world will seek counsel to escape war. Then they shall come to the Messiah, to Jerusalem [see BT Bava Batra 75b], and he will teach them this law.

Before I treat this matter, I will present a short introduction concerning human qualities, and say that people are divided into two categories: egoists and altruists. “Egoists”—meaning that all that they do they do for themselves [see BT Bava Batra 10b]. And if they ever do something for another, they must have a fine reward in return for their service, be it money, respect, and so forth. “Altruists”—meaning that all their days they sacrifice for the welfare of others, without any reward. Rather, they always neglect their own needs to help others. Furthermore, among them there are those who give their very self for the benefit of others, such as those we find among volunteers who go out to war for their fellow countrymen.

More generally, we also find altruists among those who give their heart and soul to aid the primitive of every nation of the world. For example, communists who fight for the benefit of the oppressed among every nation. They are willing to pay for it with their very life. Egoism is embedded in the nature of every person, as in any animal. Altruism, however, goes against human nature. And yet, there are a select few imparted this nature, I call them “idealists.” Yet, the majority of any society or state is made up of simple flesh and blood folk, meaning egoists. Only a few, ten percent at most, are altruists.

Now, I shall get to the point: For that reason—altruists being so few in every society—the first communists, before Karl Marx’s day, were unsuccessful in spreading communism to the world, as is said, “One swallow does not a spring make.” In addition, some of them even established communal settlements like the kibbutzim in our country [Israel], but they failed because they could not subsist. This was because each member of a communal society must be an altruistic idealist, like the founders themselves. Since ninety percent of any society, even the most developed, are egoists, they could not maintain the conduct of a cooperative society, which is purely altruistic by nature. This continued until the time of Karl Marx, when a very successful plan for the expansion of communism was devised, namely to incorporate the oppressed themselves in the war of communism so that shoulder to shoulder they would fight against the capitalist bourgeois government. Since the oppressed are interested in this war only for their own good, namely egoistic reasons, they immediately accepted the plan, and thus communism spread to every strata of the primitive and the oppressed.

Now, since the primitive are the majority in [any] society, it is no surprise that today communism has succeeded in encircling a third of the world. However, this coupling of the altruist communists with the egoistic proletariat, though it was successful in overthrowing the bourgeois government, hateful to both, that coupling still fails to maintain a cooperative government with just division. The reason is very simple: A person does not budge unless there is some reason which necessitates that movement, like fuel for a machine. For example, one does not move his hand an inch unless he thinks that he will be more comfortable. That seeking of a more comfortable place for his hand is the fuel, as it were, pushing his hand from one place to another.

Needless to say, a worker who works all day must have fuel for his exertion. Reward for his work is the fuel that motivates him in his hard labor. Thus, if no reward is given, or if he has no need for that reward, he will not be able to work [cf. Rabbi Ya’aqov Emden, Birat Migdal Oz, 138b]. He is like a machine without fuel—even the most gullible person in the world does not believe this machine will ever move. Hence, in a purely communistic regime, where the worker knows that he will not be given more if he works more, or receive less if he works less, and all the more so in light of the absolute slogan, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” (Critique of the Gotha Program)—the worker is neither to be rewarded for his diligence, nor fear his own negligence. Thus, he has no fuel propelling him in his work. The workers’ productivity then drops to zero, until they ruin the entire regime. No schooling in the world will help in inverting human nature to be able to work without fuel—without reward. The exception to this rule is the natural born altruistic idealist for whom the best reward is the benefit of another. This altruistic fuel is entirely sufficient in propelling him in his work, like the egoistic reward for all other people. However, idealists are few. Their number is a weak foundation for society. Thus, you see that communism and altruism are one and the same.

I know there are ways to compel workers to complete their share of the work their supervisors give them. This is the conduct of a bourgeois government in which each is rewarded according to his productivity. In addition, harsh punishment can be imposed on the negligent, as in Soviet countries. However, in no way is this communism. Needless to say, it is not the paradise that the communist regime hoped to bring about, one worthy of giving one’s life to. Furthermore, a government such as this is far worse than the bourgeois government for obvious reasons that I will soon give. Had that coercive government been a step toward a perfect communism, it would still be acceptable and tolerable. However, that is not the case: no schooling in the world will invert human nature from egoism to altruism.

Therefore, the oppressive regimes in Soviet countries are eternal regimes that can never be changed. And should they wish to change it into a truly cooperative regime, the workers run out of fuel. They are unable to work and destroy the government. Thus, egoism and anti-communism are one and the same—identical. Furthermore, a coercive communist government is completely unsustainable, since a government which relies on the bayonet cannot persist, the majority will ultimately rise up against it and abolish it. The idealist ten percent will not be able to rule over the egoistic anti-communist ninety percent forever. This is what we find in Soviet and eastern countries.

Even that handful of communist idealists which lead these countries today are not guaranteed to remain that way for generations, because ideals are not hereditary [see M Avot 2:17: “Prepare yourself to study the Law, for it does not come to you as an inheritance”]. Although the fathers are idealists, there is no guarantee that their sons will do the same. Thus, how can we be certain that the leadership of the second or third generation will be in the hands of communist idealists as it is today? You may say that a majority will always elect them from the public, but this is a grave error. The majority of the egoistic public will only elect those who are close to them in spirit, not their opponents. Furthermore, it is common knowledge that today’s leaders were not elected by the public whatsoever. Who can make sure that the elected representatives of the public will always be idealists? When the egoists are in power, they are sure to abandon that government immediately, or at least turn it into a kind of national communism—הערען פעלקער (herren folker), Herrenvolk [i.e., “a nation of masters,” a locution of Max Weber (see for example Political Writings, 129, 269), later to be misappropriated by Hitler in his notion of a “master race”].

All that I have said—when I proved that communism and altruism are the same, and that egoism and anti-communism are the same—is my own view. Since if you ask the communists themselves, they will vehemently deny it. They will claim the opposite: We are far from any bourgeois ethics, we possess no sentimentalism. It is only justice that we seek, that no man exploit another. In other words, it is according to the quality, “What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is yours” (M Avot 5:10), which, in fact, is the quality of egoists. Hence, I must see things from their perspective, and review now this justice that they seek and to which they devote their lives.

First, according to the development of communist regimes, I find that “bourgeois” and “proletariat” are no longer sufficient terms to explain economic history, we need more general terms. It is more accurate to divide society into a class of “industrious” and a class of “primitive.” In bourgeois regimes, the industrious are capitalists and the middle class. The primitive are the workers who labor for them. In communist regimes, the industrious are managers, supervisors, and intelligentsia, and the primitive are the workers who labor for them. The majority in any society is always primitive. The industrious are no more than thirty percent of society. It is a law of nature that the industrious class exploits the primitive class as best they can, like fish of the sea where the strong swallow up the weak [cf. BT Avodah Zarah 4a: “Just as big fish swallow up small fish, so people would swallow each other up alive if not for fear of the rulers”]. It is of no consequence whether the industrious are capitalists and merchants, as in bourgeois regimes, or whether the industrious are managers, supervisors, intelligentsia, and administrators, as in communist regimes.

Eventually, the industrious exploit the primitive workers to the best of their ability, taking no pity on them; the industrious always extract the butter and the cream, leaving the workers meager whey. The only question is what remains for the workers after the ruthless exploitation by the industrious—the degree of enslavement the industrious impose on them—and the degree of freedom and human liberty the industrious allow them. It is only by these scraps, which the industrious leave for the primitive, that we can evaluate any regime and choose which one is preferable.

Let us mention once again what we have already said: Like a machine, one cannot work without a reward serving as fuel. In a non-altruistic communist regime, the workers must be rewarded for their work, and be heavily punished for their negligence. Yet, many supervisors are required to watch over them, for without sufficient supervision, the rewards and punishments are certain to be insufficient. However, there is no more arduous work than standing over people and tormenting them, since “nobody wants to be a hangman.” Therefore, even if you place inspectors, appointees over the inspectors, and still higher appointees to watch them, they will all be negligent in their supervision, they will not sufficiently torment the workers [cf. Ecclesiastes 5:7]. There is no remedy for this except to provide plenty of fuel to the functionaries, enough to reward such hard labor—work of the “hangman.”

In other words, they must be paid several times more than a simple worker. Thus, do not be surprised if functionaries in Russia are paid ten to fifty times more than a simple worker. Their work is ten to fifty times more difficult than that of a simple worker. If they are not sufficiently rewarded, they are compelled to neglect their office and the state is ruined. Now try to calculate in our country’s currency. Let us say that a simple worker earns a hundred Israeli pounds a month. This means that the lowest functionaries would receive a thousand pounds a month, ten times more. Thus, over one year, he earns 12,000 pounds, and over ten years 120,000 pounds. If we deduct ten percent from that for his sustenance, he is left with 108,000 pounds. Evidently we must call him a respectable capitalist. All the more so with higher functionaries. Thus, within a few decades, the functionaries become millionaires, at no risk, and only through exploitation of the workers.

As I have said, contemporary society should no longer be divided into “bourgeois” and “proletariat,” but rather into “industrious” and “primitive.” You might say that this is but a phase toward pure communism, meaning that through education and public opinion, the public may be trained until [they accept upon themselves:] “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Then there will be no need for inspectors and supervisors. This is a grave error because this slogan is a strictly altruistic slogan. Wherever one can work for the benefit of society without any “fuel,” it is unnatural, unless altruism is the reason and the “fuel” for the work, as I have shown. Thus, we must not expect any change for the better. Quite the contrary, we must fear that that handful of idealist communists who lead today will not bequeath their leadership to other idealists. The egotism of the people will gradually prevail and they will choose leadership according to their egotistic spirit—reinstating capitalism. At the very least, they will turn communism into a kind of national Communism, a “Herrenvolk,” as Hitler did. They have no inhibitions about exploiting other nations to benefit themselves, if they have the power.

You might say that through education and public opinion the nature of the masses can be transformed into altruism, but this is also a grave error. Education can achieve no more than public opinion, meaning that public opinion respect altruists and despise egoists. As long as public opinion upholds altruism by means of honor and shame, education will be effective. However, if a time comes when a skilled speaker gives a daily speech that is contrary to public opinion he can undoubtedly succeed in changing public opinion as he wishes. We already have such a bitter example from history in that villain who turned a well-mannered people like the Germans into wild animals through his daily “sermons.” Several hundred years of education vanished like a soap bubble, since public opinion had been changed, and education had nothing more to rely on, as education cannot exist without the public’s support.

Evidently there is no hope to transform this coercive government. Also, there is no hope that the masses will ever achieve true communism, according to the slogan, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Rather, the workers must remain perpetually under the dreaded rod of the managers and supervisors, while the managers and supervisors inevitably suck the blood of the workers, like bourgeois capitalists do, if not much worse than them. After all, in the coercive regime of the communists, the workers do not even have the right to strike. Famine and destruction will always hang over their heads, as the Soviet case teaches. Moreover, if coercive government is ever abandoned, the society is certainly ruined immediately, since the workers run out of fuel.

Indeed […] it is said that in a communist regime it is worthwhile for the proletariat to suffer [nobly], since they suffer for themselves, as they are the owners of the means of production, the property, and the surplus, and no one can exploit them. While in a capitalist regime they only have their daily bread, with all the surplus going to the capitalists. How lovely these words are on the surface. Nevertheless, if there is an ounce of truth in them they apply to the industrious—the functionaries and managers who, in any case, take all the pleasures of the coercive regime. Indeed, regarding the proletariat, namely the workers and the “primitive,” these words are worthless.

Let us take our own railroads, for example. They are state property, meaning that the ownership of the railroad is in the hands of all the citizens of the state. I ask, do any of us citizens feel our right to ownership of the railroad? Do we have any greater benefit when traveling on a nationalized railway compared to traveling on a private, capitalist railway? We can also take a cooperative owned entirely by the proletariat, such as Solel Boneh which is owned entirely by the workers. Do the workers who work on their own property have any additional benefit than when working for a foreign capitalist property? I fear that one who works for the foreign entrepreneur will feel much more at home than one working for Solel Boneh, even though he is seemingly a co-owner. Only a handful of managers has the entire ownership, and they do with the national property as they see fit. A private citizen is forbidden to even inquire what they are doing and for what. Thus, the proletariat takes no delight in the property of the state and the means of production that is under the hands of the executives and the functionaries, who always oppress and humiliate them like dust of the earth (2 Samuel 22:43). What then is the surplus that they have in a coercive communist regime, what more than their daily bread?

I do not envy the proletariat whatsoever. In a coercive communist regime, they are, and always will be, under the harsh burden of the functionaries and inspectors who torture them with every kind of atrocity. The world and public opinion is oblivious, since all the means of advertising are in possession of the clerks. No one is able to expose their wicked deeds in public. Furthermore, everyone is under their thumb, unable to escape the country, just as our ancestors were imprisoned in Egypt, where no slave could leave for freedom. Because all the workers leave the surplus of produce for the state, how can they let them leave, when the state loses their surplus? In a word, a non-altruistic communist regime must always consist of two classes: The “industrious,” who are the managers, functionaries, and intelligentsia, and the “primitive” class, who are the productive workers, the majority of society.

For the functioning of the state, the class of the industrious must, willingly or unwillingly, enslave, tantalize, and humiliate the working class mercilessly and shamelessly. They exploit them ten times more than the bourgeois exploit them, for they are utterly defenseless, as they do not have the right to strike. They are unable to expose the wicked deeds of the employers in public, and they derive no pleasure whatsoever in the ownership of the means of production that the functionaries have acquired.

One more thing, and this is the most important: communism must fix more than just the economic order. It must also ensure the subsistence of the people of the world. In other words, it must prevent wars so that nation not destroy nation. I have already screamed like a banshee over this back in 1933 in my pamphlet Peace, warning that wars today have reached such drastic proportions that they endanger the life of the entire world. The only counsel to prevent this is by all the nations adopting the regime of perfect communism, meaning altruistic. Needless to say, today, after the discovery and use of atom bombs, and the discovery of hydrogen bombs, it is no longer doubtful that after one, two, or three wars, human civilization will be totally ruined, leaving no trace.

Modern egoism cannot secure peace in the world. For even if all nations of the world adopt this communist regime, there will still not be a compelling reason for nations rich in means of production, raw materials, and civilization, to share the raw materials and means of production equally with poor nations. For example, the nations in [North] America will not want to equalize their standard of living with the Asian or African nations, or even with the European nations. A single nation might have the power to equalize the standard of living of the rich and middle class—the owners of the means of production—with the proletariat, by inciting the poor masses, the majority of society, to destroy the rich and middle class and take their property.

However, this counsel will be to no avail in compelling a wealthy nation to share its property and means of production with a poor nation, as the rich nation has already prepared arms and bombs to safeguard itself from its poor neighbors. Thus, what good has the communistic regime done in the world? It leaves a state of envy among the nations intact just as with a capitalistic regime, without any relief. A just division within each nation for itself will not assist to just division among the nations whatsoever. Hence, while basic sustenance is under such immediate risk it is a waste of time to improve the economic government. They would be better off using that time seeking counsel to save the very life of all humankind.

You see that the whole problem with today’s communistic regime is the lack of adequate reward, which is fuel for the workers. Hence, it is impossible to employ them successfully except with the fuel of reward and punishment. Hence, we require inspectors, supervisors, and managers to take upon themselves the hard task of supervising the workers, and ruthlessly suck their blood and sweat, making their lives endlessly bitter with hardship and enslavement. In return for this hard task they must also be given adequate reward, which is no less than to make them millionaires, for they will not want to live the life of “hangmen” by their own free choice for anything less than that, as we see in the Soviet country.

In addition, we must not hope for this reign of terror to ever end, as the optimists promise. Neither bayonets, nor education, nor public opinion will be able to transform human nature to work willingly without adequate fuel. Hence, it is a curse for generations [cf. Genesis 3:19]. When the coercive government is abandoned, the workers no longer yield a produce that suffices for the sustenance of the state. There is no remedy for this except to place faith in spiritual reward and punishment from above into the hearts of the workers, from He who knows all mysteries.

Thus, through the right education and promotion spiritual reward and punishment will be sufficient fuel for their work. They will no longer need managers or supervisors over their shoulders, but each and every one will work willingly and wholeheartedly for society, to merit his reward from Heaven.

The positive Communism is an ideal, meaning moral. The goal “to work according to one’s ability and receive according to one’s needs” testifies to that. Every moral must have a basis that necessitates it; education and public opinion are a very unsound basis, and the proof of this is Hitler. Because any concept of the majority is sure to triumph, it is needless to say that the implementation of a corrected communism is by the majority of the public. Thus, it is necessary to establish the moral level of the majority of the public on a basis that will necessitate and guarantee that the corrected communism will never be corrupted. A preordained ideal in humans is insufficient, as too few possess it, and they are insignificant compared to the majority of the public.

Religion is the only basis sure to raise the level of the collective to the moral level of “working according to the ability and receiving according to the need.” Communism must be turned away from, “What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is yours” (M Avot 5:10), which is the quality of Sodom, to “what’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is yours” (ibid.), meaning absolute altruism. When the majority of the public accepts this rule de facto, it will be time to “work according to the ability and receive according to the need.” The sign would be that everyone would work like a contract-worker.

It is forbidden to nationalize property before the public reaches this moral level. Before there is a reliable moral element in the public, the collective will not have “fuel” for work. The entire world is one family. The framework of communism should ultimately encircle the entire world in an equal standard of living for all. However, the actual process is a gradual one. Each nation whose majority accepts these basic elements practically, and has guaranteed “fuel,” may enter the framework of communism right away.

The economic and religious form that guarantees communism will be the same for all nations. Except for religious customs, which do not concern the economy, each will have one’s own custom, which must not be changed whatsoever. The world must not be corrected in religious matters before economic correction is guaranteed for the entire world.

There should be a detailed program from all the aforementioned rules and the rest of the necessary rules in this regard. Anyone who comes under the framework of communism must take a solemn oath. First, there must be a small establishment whose majority are altruists to the aforementioned extent. It means that they will work as hard as contract-workers, ten to twelve hours a day and more. Each and every one working according to his strength and receiving according to his needs. It will have all the forms of the government of a state. In this manner, even if the framework of this foundation comprises the entire world, and the brute-force regime is abandoned completely, nothing will need to be changed in governance or work. This foundation will be like a global focal point with nations and states surrounding it to the farthest corners of the earth [see Isaiah 49:6: It is too little a thing that you are My servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob and bring back Israel’s survivors. I shall make you a light for the nations, that My rescue reach then end of the earth]. All who enter this framework of communism will have the same agenda and the same leadership as its center. They will be as one nation in profits, losses and results.

It is absolutely forbidden for anyone from the foundation to turn to any of the judicial establishments, etc., or any of the forms existing in a brute-force regime [i.e., Mesirah, see for example BT Bava Qamma 58a, 117a. Cf. BT Gittin 88b in the name of Rabbi Tarfon]. All conflicts are to be resolved among themselves, meaning between the concerned parties. Public opinion, which condemns egoism, will condemn the guilty party for exploiting the righteousness of his fellow.

It is a fact that the Jews are hated by most nations and are made fewer by them [see Sifrei, Numbers 59: “Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai taught: ‘הֲלָכָה (Halakhah), the behavior, is well-known: Esau hates Jacob”]. It is true for the religious, the secular, and the communists. There is no tactic to fight against it except to bring true altruistic morale into the heart of the nations, to the point of cosmopolitanism.

If one is forbidden to exploit one’s fellow, why should a nation be allowed to exploit its fellow nations? What justifies one nation enjoying the land more than other nations? Therefore, international communism must be established. As there are individuals who have been privileged by diligence, chance, or ancestral inheritance to a greater share than the negligent, quite so is it among the nations. Hence, why should war on individuals be greater than against nations?

If you lived on an island of savages that you could not bring to law and order except through religion, would you doubt it and let them destroy one another? Similarly, with regard to altruism, they are all savages, and there is no tactic they will accept unless through religion. Who would hesitate to abandon them to destroy each other with hydrogen bombs?

There are three bases to the expansion of faith: First: satisfaction of desires; second: proofs; third: propaganda. Satisfaction of desires: is like the perpetuation of the soul, reward, as well as national reward, which is the glorification of the nation; Proofs: the world cannot exist without it, much less in the days of the atom [bomb…]; propaganda: this may also be used instead of proof, if it is done with diligence.

Because of the craving for possessions, it is impossible to build altruistic communism unless egoistic communism comes first, as demonstrated by all the societies that wished to establish altruistic Communism prior to Marxism. However, now that a third of the world has already laid down the rudiments on an egoistic communist regime, it is possible to begin to establish a durable altruistic Communism on a religious foundation.

Altruistic communism will ultimately completely nullify the power of government. Rather, Every man will do that which is right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25) [cf. 1 Samuel 8:5–11. For an appraisal of anarchism, see Rav Avraham Yitsḥak Kook, Shemonah Kevatsim 1:89–90: “Anarchism stems from a foundation more exalted than socialism”]. This should not be surprising, as it was inconceivable that children could be trained through explanation, but rather, only by the rod [see Proverbs 23:13: Do not hold back reproof from a lad, when you strike him with the rod, he won’t die]. However, today most people have accepted [not to do] this and minimize the forceful rule over children. [Now,] this concerns children who are without patience or knowledge.

All the more so with people, a kibbutz of educated, knowledgeable people brought up in altruism. They certainly will not require a brute-force regime. Indeed, there is nothing more degrading and humiliating for a person than being subjugated to naked power. Even courthouses will not be necessary, unless some unusual incident occurs, in which the companions are unable to influence an exceptionally [ornery] individual. In that case, special teachers will be needed to turn that individual around through argumentation and explanation of the benefit of society, until that individual is brought back in line.

If one is stubborn, and it is all to no avail, then the public will turn away from that person as though from an outcast, until that individual turns back to the conduct of society. It turns out that after there is a kibbutz established on altruistic communism, with a majority of people who have actively taken these rules upon themselves, they will immediately decide not to bring each other to any court, governmental agency, or any other kind of power [i.e., Mesirah, see for example BT Bava Qamma 58a, 117a. Cf. BT Gittin 88b in the name of Rabbi Tarfon]. Rather, everything will be done by gentle persuasion. Hence, no individual is to be accepted into the society until he is tested to see if he is so crude that he cannot be trained in altruism.

It is important to make such a correction that no person will demand his needs from society. Instead, there will be selected people who will examine the needs of every person and provide for every single person. Public opinion will denounce one who claims something for oneself, such as today’s thief and scoundrel. Thus, everyone’s thoughts will be devoted to giving to his fellow, as is the nature of any edification that calculates it, even before one feels his own needs. If we want to jump on a table, we must prepare ourselves to jump much higher than the table, and then we will land on the table. However, if we want to jump only as high as the table, we will fall down.

Admittedly, egoistic communism is but a step on the way to justice, a sort of “Not for its own sake… to for its own sake” (BT Pesaḥim 50b). But I say that the time for the second phase, namely altruistic communism, has arrived. First, it must be established in one country, as a model. After that the countries in the first phase will certainly accept it. Time is of the essence, since the shortcomings and brute-force used in egoistic communism deter the majority of the cultured world from this method altogether. Thus, the world must be introduced to the perfect communism, and then most civilized countries in the world will undoubtedly accept it. It is of great concern that imperialism will abolish communism from the world, but if our perfect method will actually be publicized, imperialism will certainly be left as a king with no armies.

Clearly, no stable and proper social life is possible except when controversies among members of society are resolved by the majority. It therefore follows that there cannot be a good regime in a society unless the majority is good. A good society means that the majority in it is good, and a bad society means that the majority of it is bad. As I have said above (3), that communism must not be established before the majority of the people in society operate with a desire to give.

No circulation can secure a coercive rule over future generations, and neither public opinion nor education will help in this case, for they naturally tend to grow weaker. The exception is religion, which naturally grows stronger. We see from experience that nations that have accepted religion first coercively and compulsively, observe them willingly in the following generation. Moreover, they are dedicated and devoted to it. We must understand that although the fathers took upon themselves altruistic communism because they were idealists, there is no guarantee that their children will follow them in this regime. Needless to say, if the fathers adopted communism by coercion, as is the manner in egoistic communism, it will not endure for generations, but will ultimately be overpowered and abandoned. A regime cannot be imposed except through religion.

When I say that a communistic regime must not be instated before there is an altruistic majority, I do not mean that they will be willingly idealistic. Rather, it means that they will keep it for religious reasons, in addition to public opinion. This coercion is one that will last for generations, for religion is the primary motivation.

We must remember all the suffering, poverty, corruption and war, and widows and orphans in the world, seeking rescue from altruistic communism. At that time, it will not be difficult for one to dedicate his entire life to rescue them from ruin and dreadful pain. It is even more so with a young person, whose heart has not been confounded by their own shortcomings. That person will certainly support it with his heart and soul.

The negative If there is nationalization before the public is ready for it, meaning before each one has a sound basis, and secured cause for “fuel” to work, it is as though one ruins his small house before he has the means to build another house.

Public equality does not mean flattening the level of the talented and successful to the level of the negligent and oppressed [i.e., Equality of Outcome]. This would completely ruin the public. Rather, it means allowing each person in the public a middle class standard of living. Thus, the negligent, too, will enjoy their lives as much the middle class. The freedom of the individual must be protected if it is not harmful to the majority of the public. The detrimental ones must not be pitied, and must be made harmless.

Currently communism endures because of the idealists who lead it. They were idealists before they became communists. However, the second generation, when leaders are elected by the majority of the public, will gradually be repealed, taking on the form of Nazism or turning back to domination. This is because nothing will stop them from exploiting other, negligent nations.

Egoistic communism holds no war-preventing element, since the basis of all the wars is living territory, in which each wants to build on the ruin of the other, whether justly, or because of envy that the other has more. Communism based on “mine is mine” in a framework of equal division does nothing to remove the envy of the nations with each other, much less the nations’ lack of living space. It is also hopeless that the rich nations will give from their share to be level with the poor since “mine is mine, and yours is yours” does not necessitate it. Only communism of “mine is yours, and yours is yours” will resolve it.

Even today we see that there is a global power which has overthrown and conquered all the communist countries, behaving there as in its own home, just as ancient Greece and Rome. There is no doubt that this power will subdivide in the future, and we already have Tito. When they split, they are certain to fight each other, for how does Russia govern Czechoslovakia, or the others, if not by the sword and the spear?

With communism, employers strive to decrease the consumption of the workers and increase their productivity. In imperialism, the employers want, and act to increase the consumption of the workers, and to equalize his productivity to consumption. The rulers’ and supervisors’ class will ultimately create a sort of exile in Egypt over the working class since all the workers leave their surplus in the hands of the rulers, who take the greater part from them. Hence, they will not let a single worker get away from under their hands to another country. Thus, the workers will be caged, guarded like Israel in Pharaoh’s Egypt.

The ruling class is destined finally to put all the old and handicapped in the working class to death, arguing that they eat more than they produce and they are parasites on the country. No one will die a natural death. If communism spreads throughout the world, it will put to death every nation that eats more than it produces. If the profiteers and the merchants become allotters, the buyers will become receivers of charity from the allotters, and the allotters will do with them as they see fit, or as much as they are afraid of the inspectors.

A regime cannot exist on spears forever
Communism does not exist over an anti-communist society because a regime supported on bayonets and spears is unsustainable. Eventually, the majority in society will prevail and overthrow that government. Hence, an altruistic majority must be established first, and the government will be supported on will.

The habit of waves of hatred and envy will later turn against the primitive Communism that is built on waves of hatred and envy will only succeed in overthrowing the bourgeois, not in benefiting the primitive. On the contrary, the same ones that have grown accustomed to hatred and envy will turn the arrows of hatred against the primitive once the bourgeois are gone [cf. Hannah Arendt, The New Yorker (12 September 1970): “The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution”].

Egoistic Communism will always be at war with the public
The communist regime will be compelled always to be at war with the anti-communists by its very nature. This is because each person naturally tends to be possessive. People naturally tend to take the cream and leave the meager whey for others. Nature does not change by education or public opinion. It is unimaginable that one will ever willingly agree to just division, and army bayonets cannot invert our nature, much less education and public opinion. Natural born idealists are few. If you should say that theft and robbery are well guarded in the capitalistic regime, I shall tell you that it is because the law permits legal competition. It is comparable to a person who gathers an association where the majority is murderers and robbers, and wants to rule over them and compel them to keep the law. But regarding the annulment of property, everyone is a robber.

Israel is qualified to set an example to all nations
Altruistic communism is seldom found in the human spirit; hence, the nobler nation must take upon itself to set an example for the entire world.

The country is at risk: altruistic communism will bolster the ingathering of the exiles The nation is at risk because each will flee to a different place before the economy is stabilized. This is because not every person can endure the test while there is a way to live comfortably. With altruistic communism the ideal will shine upon all people, giving them satisfaction that will make the suffering worthwhile. Moreover, it will draw the ingathering of the exiles from all the countries because the worries and survival wars everyone experiences overseas will motivate them to return to their land and live peacefully and justly.

The philosophy is ready—Kabbalah based on religion Each practical method also requires a renewed idealistic nourishment to contemplate, meaning a philosophy. As far as this is concerned, there is already a complete and ready-made philosophy, meaning Kabbalah, though it is intended only for the leaders.

Why are we the chosen people for it? We must set a good example to the world because we are better qualified than all other nations. It is not because we are more idealistic, but because we have suffered from tyranny more than all other nations [cf. Nietzsche, Daybreak, 3:205]. For this reason, we are more prepared to seek counsel that will end tyranny from the land.

Ownership and control are not identical. For example, the owners of the railway are the shareholders, and the control is in the hands of the managers, though they have only a single share, or nothing whatsoever. The same applies to the shipping company, whose shareholders have no right to control or advise. Take warships for example. They are owned by the state, yet no civilian is permitted aboard them. In addition, if the state should be in the hands of the proletariat by way of ownership, the management will ultimately be in the hands of the same managers as now, or others of likewise temper. The proletariat will have no greater foothold or benefit than they do now, unless the rulers are idealists, caring for the good of every single individual. In a word, with respect to the government, it makes no difference whether the ownership is given to capitalists or to the state. In the end, it is the managers who will control them, not the owners. Hence, the correction of society should relate primarily to the executives [Bertrand Russell, Power: A New Social Analysis, The Taming of Power, 214].

And likewise, said Avniel in the Knesset. In Israel, the gap between the lowest functionary to the highest one is times 1.7. In England, it is times ten, and in the rest of the countries it is more or less the same. But in Russia it is times fifty. Thus, in a proletarian state the functionaries and the managers waste their energy much more than in capitalistic countries. This is because the government is oligarchic, and not democratic. In simple words, it is because the communists control anti-communists. There must be oligarchy. This will never change since communism means idealism, which is not in the majority.

Such a state, where the communists rule over anti-communists is obliged to be in the hands of a group of autocratic executives in absolute dictatorship. All the people in the country will be in their hands as though they are nothing. They must always keep the sword in their hands for killing, incarceration, concealed and revealed punishments, food deprivation, and all sorts of punishments, according to each executive’s arbitrary decision. All this is in order to keep the anti-communists in dreadful terror and fear, so they work for the state and not ruin it inadvertently or maliciously. In such a state, the executives must make sure the citizens cannot choose a democratic management, since the majority of the country is anti-communistic.

In such a state, where the communists rule over the anti-communists, the managers must see that the citizens have no possibility for advertisement, or to disclose the dreadful injustice that is done to the people of the state or to the minorities in the state. In other words, the printers are not to print and the administrators of the lecture halls must watch over the speakers so they do not criticize their deeds. They must punish harshly anyone who plans, or even thinks of criticizing their acts. Thus, the government will have full control to deal with them arbitrarily, and there will be no one to detain them (Power, … 21).

Ethics cannot rely solely on education and public opinion, because public opinion necessitates only what is in the public’s favor. Hence, if one comes and proves that morality is harmful to the public and vulgarity is more beneficial, they will immediately discard morality and choose vulgarity, as Hitler testifies. The egoistic communism based on waves of envy and hate will never be rid of them. Rather, when there are no bourgeois, they will cast their hate on Israel. We must not be mistaken that communism will cure the loathing of Israel from the nations. Only altruistic communism can be expected to bring that remedy.


Clearly, the slogan, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” is absolute altruism. When this is applied, the majority of the public, or all of it, will be armed with the quality “mine is yours.” Hence, do tell, which are the elements that can bring the public to this desire? Today’s elements, namely the hatred of the capitalists and every sort of animosity extending from it, will only bring one the opposite. It will instill the quality of “mine is mine, and yours is yours” in people, which is the quality of Sodom, the opposite of love of man. I have nothing to say to those who go with the flow, only with those who have their own mind and the strength to criticize [cf. Rabbi Avraham Yesha‘yahu Karelits, Ḥazon Ish, Emunah u-Bitaḥon 4:5: “(Man’s fundamental evil trait is) allowing his natural life to flow along its natural course”].

Engels’ fundamental concept, in the name of Marx, states, “The oppressed and exploited class cannot be liberated from the oppressive and exploitative class without also liberating all of society from exploitation, oppression and class struggle once and for all.” This is in contrast to contemporary communist conduct to slaughter and degenerate all the bourgeois parts of society. This powerful hostility will never be effaced from their children. It is also in contrast with the fact that they are establishing a sovereign, governing class, monitoring the working class. There is no more painful and regrettable class struggle than this. They suck the fat from the workers’ marrow and leave them the residue, along with constant fear of death, or of being sent to Siberia. Where is the salvation here? They have replaced the bourgeois class, which was not so terrible—in fact, its shadow has been lifted from them since the workers have the power to strike against them—and they have substituted it with a sovereign class, governing and ruling a class of exploited slaves who are constantly terrorized by a punishment far worse than they had in their war against the bourgeois.

The country is divided into two classes: the industrious, and the primitive. The industrious are the employers and the leaders; the primitive are the workers and those led. It is a law of nature that the industrious will exploit the primitive. The only question is how much freedom, equality, and standard of living do they leave for the primitive. Also, how much labor the industrious will demand of them. The primitive are always the vast majority in society. The industrious are but ten percent of it, which is the exact amount needed to operate society. If the percentage is increased or decreased, there is a crisis. These are the crises in the bourgeois society. Crises in the communist society take on a different form, but with the same degree of pain. The name “industrious” also includes their heirs and those who bribe the industrious. The name “primitive” relates also to industrious who for some reason have been thrown into the primitive class.

Regarding religion: “The permanent moral state does not stem from religion, but from science” (Lenin, Empirio Criticism, 324). Morality based on public benefit exists in social animals, too. However, this is not enough since it becomes vulgar and is harmful to society, such as the great patriotic murderer, carried on the shoulders of the nationalists. Thus, only religion-based morality is enduring, valid, and indispensable. We find the same among “savage nations,” whose level of morality is far greater than civilized nations.

A society cannot be good unless its majority is good. However, some stun or entice the wicked majority with all sorts of marketing until they are compelled to choose good leadership. This is what all democracies do. Alas, the majority finally learns, or others teach them, and they choose an wicked leadership that matches their ill will. We must understand why Marx and Engels decided that perfection of communism means working according to ability and receiving according to needs. Who forced it upon them? Why was it not enough to receive according to one’s productivity, and not to equalize one with a negligent, or with one who has no sons? The thing is that communism will not endure by way of egoism, but by the way of altruism, for the aforementioned reasons.

In the very same way they exterminated the capitalists, they were also compelled to exterminate the farmers. In addition, in the sense of the joy of life, they will always be forced to destroy the proletariat. Although Marx and Engels were the first to place the correction of the world on the proletariat, it did not occur to them to do it coercively, but rather democratically. For this reason, the workers had to be the majority, and then establish a proletarian government where the leaders of the regime would gradually reform until they come to abstract altruism—each according to his deeds, and each according to his needs. Lenin added to it the establishment of the communist regime through forcing the minority opinion over the majority, hoping that afterwards, altruism would be conducted among them too. All that was needed for this was an armed camp of proletariat. Since the property owners are scattered, the government could take it by force, and then come and defeat the weak and unorganized property owners. In that, he disagreed with Marx and said that it is quite the contrary: In the primitive countries it is easier to defeat them, as all that is needed was to turn the soldiers into communists and destroyers of the property owners, and to seize their property. It is easier to incite soldiers to kill and loot the property owners in a primitive country.

That is why he understood that he would not find a cruder multitude than in his own country, and therefore said that his country would be first. However, when he saw that in fact, it was not enough to destroy the capitalistic ten percent, but that millions of farmers must also be destroyed, he grew tired, because it is impossible to destroy half a nation. Then came Stalin, who said that the end justifies the means, and took upon himself the task of destroying the farmers, too. He was successful. However, not one of them also considered that in the end, they need the goodwill of the proletariat, so that they would work, and to instill the conduct of altruism in them, which would bring them to this slogan. This is utterly impossible. Nature cannot be changed so that not only would one work for his needs, but for his fellow’s needs. This is utterly impossible without coercion and enforcement. Ultimately, the majority rises up and abandons the regime. Liars are those who say that idealism is either natural or a result of education. Rather, it is a direct result of religion! As long as religion was not sufficiently spread throughout the world, the entire world was barbaric without inhibition. Only after servants of the Creator spread, did the offspring of the agnostics become idealists. Thus, the idealist is only so due to his ancestral imperative. However, it is an orphaned imperative, meaning without one to necessitate.

If religion were to be annulled altogether, all governments would then become like Hitler. Nothing would restrain them from increasing the country’s benefits incessantly. Even today, governments know no sensitivity. However, there is still a limit to their deeds between the still and the idealists in the country. When religion is annulled, it will not be difficult for rulers to uproot the remaining idealists, as it was not hard for Hitler and Stalin. The difference between the idealist and religious is that the idealist’s deeds are baseless. He cannot convince anyone of his preference for justice, and who so necessitates it. Perhaps it is but faintness of heart as Nietzsche said [see Daybreak: Thoughts 3:163. Cf. Plato, Gorgias, 483b–d]. He will not have a single intelligent word to utter, which is why Hitler and Stalin overpowered them. However, the religious will boldly counter that it is so commanded by the LORD, and would give his life for it […].

If my words yield benefit, good. If not, the last generations will know why communism was annulled, that it was not because it could not be sustained, as capitalists say, but because the leaders did not understand how to establish that regime. They erected a regime of egoism where they should have established a regime of altruism.
If anyone should disagree with me and say that education will suffice for that, I permit him to establish for himself a society based solely on education, but I will not partake in it. I know all too well that these are idle things. Thus, might he assist me in establishing a religious society?

Appendices and drafts

Section One
“Critical communism has never refused, or refuses now, to welcome the abundance of ideological, ethical, psychological, and educational ideas that may be reached by studying the various forms of Communism” (Antonio Labriola).

“Were we to wish to think today as Marx and Engels did, at a time when if they themselves were here today, they would be thinking otherwise… defending the dead letter of the latter,” etc. (Georgy Plekhanov, Introductions to the Communist Manifesto).

The positive
Evidence for altruistic communism
For the rules of a altruistic communist society
For an international communism
For a beneficial religion
Promoting the expansion of religion
Egoistic communism precedes altruistic communism
For the keeping of Judaism.

The negative [….]

Section two (for the Introduction)

I already conveyed my basic outlook in 1933. I have also spoken to the leaders of the generation, but at the time, my words were not accepted, though I was screaming like a banshee, warning about the destruction of the world. Alas, it made no impression. Now, however, after the atom and hydrogen bombs, I think the world will believe me that the end of the world is coming rapidly, and Israel will be the first nation to be burned, as in the previous war. Thus, today it is good to awaken the world to accept the only remedy, and they will live and exist.

We must understand why Marx and Engels necessitated the ultimate communism, where each works according to his ability and receives according to his needs. Why do we need this strict condition, being the quality of “mine is yours, and yours is yours,” the absolute altruism?
In that regard, I have come to prove in this article that there is no hope for communism to exist, if it is not brought to this end, which is complete altruism. Until then, it is nothing but phases in communism. Once I have proven the correctness of the slogan, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” we must see if these phases can yield this outcome.

Today, the definitions, “bourgeois” and “proletariat,” no longer suffice to explain the history of economy. Rather, we need more general terms: the “industrious” class and the “primitive” class (above in the section Debate, item 4). After twenty-five years of experience, we are baffled regarding the complete happiness that the communist regime had promised us. Its opponents say it is absolutely evil, and its supporters say that it is heaven on earth. Indeed, we must not cast off the words of the opponents at a stroke, because when one wants to know another’s properties, he must ask both his friends and his enemies. It is a rule that the friends know only the virtues and not a single flaw, for Love covers up all misdeeds (Proverbs 10:12). The enemies are the opposite: They know only of the faults, for “hate covers up all virtues” [paraphrasing Proverbs 10:12: Hatred foments strife].

Thus, one knows the truth when hearing the words of both. I wish to examine communism thoroughly, and explain its advantages and disadvantages. Mostly, I wish to explain the corrections, how all its shortcomings can be corrected so that everyone will see and admit that this regime is indeed the regime that brings both justice and happiness. How happy we were when communism came to practical experimentation in a nation as big as Russia. It was clear to us that after a few years the government of justice and happiness would appear before the entire world, and thus the capitalist government would vanish from the world in the wink of an eye. Yet, that was not the case. Quite the contrary, all the civilized nations speak of the Soviet communist regime as a terrible aberration. Hence, not only was the bourgeois regime not annulled, it rather grew twice as strong as before the Soviet experiment.

Section three
Why did communism have to assume the form of “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs?” A communist government cannot endure over an anti-communist society, since a government supported on bayonets is unsustainable. Communism built on waves of envy can only overthrow and ruin the bourgeois, but not benefit the primitive proletariat. Conversely, when the bourgeois are annihilated, the arrows of contempt will aim at the primitive. Nothing can guarantee a powerful government over the future generations except religion. Even if the fathers are idealists, and have assumed the communism, it is not certain that their sons will pursue it. All the more so, if their fathers had taken it on it by force and coercion, as is the manner of egoistic communism, they ultimately rise up and demolish it. A communist regime cannot exist atop an anti-communist society. It would have to fight the anti-communists throughout its existence. This is because every person is naturally possessive—one cannot work without motivation. The army’s bayonets will not turn man’s nature around, and the idealists are few. Several thousand years of penalties rest on the heads of the thieves, the robbers, and the fraudulent, yet they have not changed their nature even though they can obtain everything legally. It is much the same as one coming upon a society of thieves and murderers, wanting to lead them and restrict them to legal ways by force. It must explode.

Double, double, double
Because the majority opinion is guaranteed to prevail, it is all the more so with the implementation of communism. It will not persist except through the majority of the public. Hence, we must perpetuate the moral level of the majority of the public in such a way that it will never be corrupted. Religion is the only sound basis that will persist for generations. Communism must be transposed to the register of “mine is yours, and yours is yours,” meaning absolute altruism. After the majority of the public attains it, they will observe, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Before the majority of the public attains this level of morality, it is forbidden to nationalize the property for the aforementioned reasons.

Section four
Nationalization before the public is ready for it is similar to tearing down one’s dilapidated house before one has the means to build a solid one. Just division does not mean lowering the industrious to the primitive. This would be disastrous for the public. Rather, it means raising the primitive to the industrious. Egoistic communism exists now through a group of idealists that lead it. Yet, in future generations, the public will not elect idealists, but only the most capable, who are not limited by the ideal, and then communism will take on the form of Nazism. With egoistic communism, the employers wish to decrease the consumption of the worker, and increase productivity, which will always be questionable if sufficient. Imperialism is better than that, since the employers want to increase the consumption of the worker and level productivity to consumption.

Section five
The definitions, “bourgeois” and “proletariat,” are no longer sufficient to explain history. Instead, it should be divided into a “industrious” class and “primitive” class. It is a law of nature that the industrious class will exploit the primitive class, like fish in the sea, where the strong swallow up the weak. It makes no difference if the industrious are bourgeois, or the functionaries of the communistic government. Rather, the question is how much freedom and enjoyment do they leave for the primitive. The industrious class is ten percent, and the primitive class led by them is ninety percent of society. There is no reformation of the primitive unless they themselves elect the industrious to govern them. If they do not have this power, they end up being exploited by the industrious without inhibition.

Section six
The industrious class—the rulers and inspectors—are bound to create an exile such as in Egypt over the primitive class, who are the workers. This is because the rulers accumulate all the surplus of the workers in their hands, and take the lion’s share. Moreover, for purposes of the benefit of the public, they will not let any worker escape from under their grip to a different country, they will guard them like Israel in Egypt. No slave leaves them to be free. Ultimately, the industrious class will put to death all the elderly and handicapped who eat and do not labor, or even if they eat more than they can labor, as it is detrimental to society, as is known that they have no inhibition. When merchants and brokers become administrators, the consumers become recipients of charity from their hands. Their fate is determined by the mercy of the administrators, or as much as they fear the inspectors, should they take interest in that.

Since ownership and control are not the same, for example, with a ship that belongs to the state, every citizen has ownership over it, yet no right of entry, but only as the administration that controls it sees fit. Also, even if there is a proletariat government, they will have no preference in government property than they have now in the bourgeois property. This is because all the control will be held by the executives alone, which are today’s bourgeois, or those like them. Such a state, where communists govern anti-communists, must be in the hands of oligarchy, in complete dictatorship, in which all the citizens are regarded as nothing, subject to brutal punishment according to the whim of each and every executive. Otherwise, they will not secure the sustenance of the needs of the state. In such a regime, the government must ensure that there are no democratic elections since the majority of the public are anti-communists.

Egoistic communism does not liberate the proletariat whatsoever. On the contrary, instead of bourgeois employers, who are lenient with the workers, they will establish a class of executives and supervisors who will enslave the proletariat by coercion and harsh and bitter punishments. The oppression and the exploitation is doubled, and it is not easier on them in any way, if the exploitation is for the good of the country, because in the end, the employers and the oppressors take the cream, and the workers get the meager whey. In return, they are placed under constant fear of death, or punishment harsher than death. In such a state, where communists rule over anti-communists, the executives must see that the citizens cannot discover the burden and oppression they are under. Thus, after all the works are in their hands, they will forbid the printers from printing, and the speakers from speaking, so they do not criticize their deeds whatsoever. Instead, they will be compelled to lie and cover up for them, and depict a heaven on earth, and their plight will never become known.

It will be even more so with minorities who are not favored by the executives for whatever reason. They will be able to annihilate them without shame or fear that it will become known outside. And what will become of the Jews, whom the majority of the world hates? Indeed, it is the absolute truth that there cannot be a good and complete society unless its majority is good because the management depicts the quality of society, and the society is elected by the majority. If the majority is bad, the management will necessarily be bad, as well, for the wicked will not place over them rulers of whom they do not approve [i.e., majority tyranny].

We need not deduce from the modern democracies, as they use various tactics to deceive the constituency. When they grow wiser and understand their cunningness, the majority will certainly elect a management according to their spirit. And their main tactic is that they first sanctify people with good reputation, and promote them either as wise or as righteous, and then the masses believe and elect them. But a lie does not persist forever. This explains Hitlerism. What happened to the Germans is one of nature’s wonders. They were considered among the most civilized nations, and all of a sudden, overnight, they became savages, worse than even the most primitive nations in history. Moreover, Hitler was elected by the majority’s vote. In light of the above, it is very simple: Indeed, the majority of the public, which is essentially evil, possess no [meaningful] opinions, even among the most civilized nations. Rather, they deceive the majority of the public. Hence, even though the majority of the public is evil, there can be a good leadership.

However, should an evil person, capable of uncovering the deceit that the managers employ with the famous people they create, come and present the people that should be elected according to their spirit and desire, as did Hitler (and Lenin, and Trotsky), it is no wonder that they overthrow the fraudulent, and elect evil leaders according with their spirit. Thus, Hitler was indeed elected democratically, and the majority of the public united behind him. Afterward, he subdued and uprooted all the idealistic people, and did with nations as he wished, and as the people wished [in the final two free elections before Hitler’s rise to power, in July and November 1932, the Nazis received 38% and 33% of the vote, respectively—a plurality but not enough to bring them into government. In the 1932 presidential election, Hitler lost to Hindenburg by a wide margin. Hitler came to power not through elections, but because Hindenburg and the circle around Hindenburg ultimately decided to appoint him chancellor in January 1933. This was the result of backroom dealing and power politics, not any kind of popular vote. It is true that after Hitler was already ensconced as chancellor, the Nazis subsequently won the March 1933 elections. But this was in the wake of the Reichstag fire, when the government had passed an emergency law that sharply restricted the activities of left-of-center parties (including the arrest of many Communist leaders). Thus, it is difficult to claim that these were “free and fair” elections]. This is the whole novelty. Since the dawn of time, it has never happened that the majority of the public governed a state. Either the autocrats did, who, at the end of the day, do have some measure of morality, or the oligarchy, or the deceitful democrats. The majority of the simple folk ruled only in the days of Hitler, who, in addition, promoted turpitude toward other nations. He elevated public benefit to the level of devotion since he understood the frame of mind of sadists. When given room to discharge their sadism, they would pay for it with the lives.

Section seven
Egoistic communism cannot prevent wars, since the industrious nations, or the ones rich in raw materials, will not want to share equally with the poor and primitive nations. Hence, once again we must not hope for peace, except by means of the prevention of wars, meaning by preparing arms to guard against the envy and odium of the poor and primitive nations, just as today. Even more so, there will be even more wars due to changes in ideals, such as Titoism and Zionism. I have already spoken and wrote about it in 1933, and I have screamed like a banshee that today’s wars will destroy the world, but they did not believe it. But now, after the atom and hydrogen bombs, I think that everyone will believe me that if we are not saved from wars, it will be the end of the world.

Section eight
If communism is just toward each nation, then it is just toward all the nations. What prerogative and ownership over raw materials in the soil has one nation over others? Who legislated this property law? All the more so when they have acquired it by means of swords and bayonets! Also, why should one nation exploit another if it is unjust to every individual? In a word: As abolition of property is just for the individual, so it is just for every nation. Only then will there be peace on earth. Consider this: If property laws and rules of inheritance do not permit possession rights to individuals, why would they permit an entire nation? As just division is applied among individuals within the nation, there should also be internationally just division in raw materials, means of production, and accumulated property for all the nations equally [cf. BT Sanhedrin 98a on Ezekiel 36:8]. There should be no difference between white and black, civilized and primitive, just as among individuals within a single nation. There should be no division whatsoever among individuals, a single nation, or all the nations in the world. While there is still discrimination wars will not end. There is no hope of reaching international communism through egoistic communism. Even if America, India, and China should adopt a communistic regime, there is still nothing that will compel Americans to make their standard of living equal to the savage and primitive Africans and Indians. All the “cures” of Marx and Lenin will be to no avail here, inciting the poor class to rob the wealthy class, since the wealthy have already made arms to guard themselves. Thus, if it is to no avail, then the entire egoistic communism was in vain, for it will not prevent wars whatsoever.

Section nine
It is a fact that Israel is hated by all nations, whether for religious, racial, capitalist, communist, or for cosmopolitan reasons and so forth [see Sifrei Bemidbar, 59: “Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai taught: It is a well-known halakhah: Esau hates Jacob”]. It is so because the hatred precedes all reason, each merely resolves his loathing according to his own psychology. No counsel will help here, except to initiate international, moral, and altruistic communism among all nations. Israel must be the first among the nations to assume international altruistic communism. It must be a model demonstrating the good and beauty of this government. Because they suffer, indeed will suffer, from the tyranny of the nations more than all other nations, they are like the heart that burns before all the other organs [see Rabbi Yehudah ha-Levi, Kuzari 2:36, cf. Zohar 3:221b]. Hence, they are better suited to adopt the proper, ideal government first. Our very existence in the state of Israel is in danger since according to the present economic order, it will take a long time before our economy is stabilized. Very few will be able to endure the experience of the ordeal in our country while they can immigrate to other, wealthy countries. Bit by bit, they will escape the discomfort until too few remain to merit the name “State,” and they will be swallowed among the Arabs. But if they accept the international altruistic communist regime, not only will they have the satisfaction of being the avant-garde for the delivery, rescue, of the world, for which they will know that it is worth the suffering, but they will also be able to control their souls and lower the standard of living when needed. They will be able to work hard enough to secure a solid economy for the state. It is even more so with kibbutzim, whose very existence is built on idealism, which will naturally wane in future generations, as ideals are not hereditary. Undoubtedly, they will be the first to ruin.

Section ten
Religion is the only sound basis to raise the moral level of society until each person works according to his ability and receives according to his needs.

If you lived on an isle of savages, whose lives you could not save, preventing them from ferociously exterminating themselves, except by means of religion, would you then doubt ordering their lives with a religion that would suffice to save this nation from eradication from the world?
With respect to altruistic communism, everyone is savage. There is no ploy to impose such a regime on the world, except by means of religion, for religious compulsion becomes agreeable in the progeny, as we have seen happen in nations that have accepted religion by force and coercion.
However, in coercion through education and public opinion, which is not hereditary in the progeny, it only diminishes in time. Hence, would you say that it is better that the entire world destroys each other than to impose on them a certain cause to lead them to life and happiness? It is hard to believe that any sane person would hesitate here. It is impossible to have a stable democratic society except by means of a society whose majority is good and honest, since society is led by the majority, for better or for worse. Hence, the Altruistic Communist regime must not be established unless the majority of the public is ready to commit to it for generations. That can only be secured through religion because the nature of religion is that even though it begins coercively, it ends voluntarily.

Religion and idealism complement each other. Where the ideal cannot be in the majority, religion forcefully rules the primitive majority, incapable of ideals due to its possessiveness, and its desire to work less than his friend and receive more. It is impossible to erect the altruistic communism before the egoistic communism expands. However, now that a third of the world has assumed the egoistic communism, the power of religion can be used to establish altruistic communism. Humankind will not suffice with dry decrees without accompanying them with reasonable explanations that support and strengthen such conduct, meaning a philosophic method. In that regard, there is already an entire philosophy concerning the desire to give, which is the altruistic communism, sufficient to contemplate for one’s entire life, and thus strengthen oneself through acts of giving.

Section eleven
Egoistic communism will ultimately adopt the form of pure Nazism, but in the appearance of national communism. However, this difference of names does not inhibit anyone from the satanic acts of Hitler. Thus, the Russians will be the “Master Nation,” and the entire world their submissive servants as in Hitler’s way. In the bourgeois regime, free competition is the primary fuel for success. The industrialists and the merchants play in it; the winners are very happy, and those who do not win suffer a bitter end. In between them is the proletariat, having no share in this game. It is seemingly neutral, neither rising nor falling. However, because of its ability to strike, its standard of living is secured. Ultimately, in both the communist and the bourgeois governments, the primitive are unfit for leadership, although they are the majority of the public. Rather, they must elect leaders from among the industrious. However, because they are elected by them, they can be hopeful of not being exploited so much. Conversely, in the egoistic communist government, the managers are not elected by the majority of the public, since they are anti-communists, as in Russia and the others, where the elected are only from among the communists.

Hence, they face a bitter end indeed, since the proletariat does not have a single representative in the leadership. All the above adheres to the rule that the proletariat are anti-communists by nature. The proletariats are not idealists; they are the primitive majority of society, and think that “just division” means that they receive an equal share with the industrious. The industrious will never want that. My words relate only to the proletariat, meaning to the primitive, who are the majority of society. The industrious and the intelligentsia will always suck the cream, either in a communist government, or in a bourgeois government. It is reasonable to think that many of them will be better off in a communist regime, since they will not fear criticism, as is written in item […].

Only you, the primitive proletariat, will be the worst off in a communist regime. However, the industrious class will have a different name: managers and supervisors. They will be better off because they will be rid of the competition, which takes its toll on the bourgeois, and will receive their share persistently and abundantly. The primitive have no counsel and contrivance to terminate the fear, unemployment, and ignominy, except for altruistic communism. Hence, my words are not aimed at the industrious and the intelligentsia, as they will certainly not accept my words, but only at the proletariat and the primitive . They will be able to understand me, and to them I speak, as well as to those who spare the lives of the primitive and sympathize with their anguish. It is one of man’s freedoms not to be tied to one place, like plants, which cannot leave their habitat. Hence, each country must ensure that it does not inhibit citizens from moving to another country. It must also be ensured that no country closes its gates before strangers and immigrants. A government of altruistic Communism must not be instigated before the majority of the public is prepared for giving to one another.

Ultimately, altruistic communism will encircle the entire world, and the entire world will have the same standard of living. However, the actual process is slow and gradual. Each nation, whose majority of the public has been educated in giving to one another, will enter the international communistic framework first. All the nations that have already entered the international communistic framework will have an equal standard of living. Thus, the surplus of a rich or industrious nation will improve the standard of living of a primitive or poor nation in raw materials and means of production. The religious form of all the nations should first obligate its members to giving to each other to the extent that the life of one’s companion will come before one’s own life, as in love your fellow as yourself (Leviticus 19:18) [cf. BT Bava Metsi’a 62a: “Your life takes precedence over the life of your companion”; Naḥmanides on Leviticus 19:18]. One will not take pleasure in society more than a primitive companion. This will be the collective religion of all the nations that will come within the framework of communism. However, besides that, each nation may follow its own religion and tradition, and one must not interfere in the other. The rules of the equal religion for the entire world are as follows:

One should work for the wellbeing of people as much as one can and even more than one’s ability, if needed, until there is no hunger or thirst in the entire world. One may be industrious, but no person shall enjoy the society more than the primitive. There will be an equal standard of living for all. Though there is religion, tokens of due honors should be imparted according to the religion; the greater the benefit one contributes to society, the higher the decoration one shall receive.

Refraining from showing one’s diligence toward the benefit of society will induce punishment according to the laws of society. Each and every one is committed to the labor of raising ever higher the living standard of the world society, so all the people in the world will enjoy their lives and will feel more and more happiness. The same applies for spirituality, though not everyone is obligated to engage in spirituality, but only unique people, depending on the need.

There will be a sort of high-court. Those who will want to dedicate their service to spiritual life will have to be granted permission by this court [see Maimonides, Mishneh Torah]. Elaborating on the other necessary laws: Anyone, individual, or a group, who comes under the framework of the altruistic communism, must take a solemn oath to keep all that because the LORD has so commanded [see Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Melakhim u-Milḥamot, 8:14 (11): “Anyone who accepts upon himself and carefully observes the Seven Commandments is of the righteous of the nations of the world and has a portion in the World to Come. This is as long as he accepts and performs them because it was the blessed Holy One who commanded them in the Torah, and that is was through Moses our teacher we were informed that the sons of Noah had already been commanded to observe them. But if he observes them because he convinced himself logically, then he is not considered a resident convert and is not of the righteous of the nations of the world, but (or: nor) one of their wise”].

At the very least one must pledge to teach one’s children that the LORD has so commanded. Those who say that the ideal is enough for them should be accepted and tested. If it is so, they may be accepted. However, they must still promise not to pass their heretical ways to their children, but hand them over to be educated by the state. If one accepts neither, he should not be accepted whatsoever. He would corrupt his friends and he would lose more than he would gain. First, there must be a small establishment, whose majority of the public is willing to work as much as it can and receive as much as it needs for religious reasons. It will work as hard as contract-workers, even more than the eight-hour workday. It will contain all the forms of government of a complete state. In a word, the order of that small society will be sufficient for all the nations in the world, without adding or subtracting. This foundation will be like a global focal point for nations and states surrounding it to the farthest corners of the world [see Isaiah 49:6]. All who enter this framework shall assume the same leadership and the same agenda as the foundation. Thus, the entire world will be a single nation, in profits, losses, and results.

Judgments relying on force will be completely abandoned in this foundation. Rather, all conflicts among the members of society shall be resolved among the concerned parties. General public opinion shall condemn anyone who exploits the righteousness of his friend for his own good. There will still be a courthouse, but it will only serve to sort out doubts that will come between people, but it will not rely on any force. One who rejects the court’s decision will be condemned by public opinion, and that is all. We should not doubt its sufficiency, as it was unbelievable that children could be educated only by explanation, but only through the cane. However, today, the greater part of civilization has taken upon itself to refrain from beating children, and this upbringing is more successful than the previous method. If there is one who is exceptional in society, he must not be brought before a court relying on force, but must be reformed through argumentation and explanation. If all the counsels are to no avail, the public will turn away from that person as though from an outcast. Thus, he will not be able to corrupt others in society.

It is important to make such a correction that no person will demand his needs from society. Instead, there will be appointees who will go from door to door, examining the needs of everyone, and they will provide for him by themselves. Thus, everyone’s thoughts will be devoted to giving to his fellow, and he will never have to think of his own needs. It is based on the observation that in consumption we are like any other animal. In addition, every loathsome act in the world stems from consumption. Conversely, we see that every joyous deed in the world comes from the quality of giving to his fellow. Thus, we should economize and reject thoughts of consumption for the self, and fill our minds only with thoughts of giving to our fellow. This is possible in the above manner. The freedom of the individual must be kept as long as it is not harmful to society. However, one who wishes to leave the society in favor of another must not be detained in any way, even if it is harmful to society, and even that, in a way that the society is not ruined altogether.

Section twelve

There are three rudiments to the expansion of religion: satisfaction of desires, proof, and circulation.

Satisfaction of desires
In every person there is an unknown spark which seeks—indeed, demands—to unite with God. And occasionally they are roused and thirst to know God, or deny God which is the same thing. If someone generates the satisfaction of this desire in that person, they will agree to anything. To that we must add the matter of immortality of the soul, reward in the next world, כָּבוֹד הַפֵרָט (kavod ha-perat), dignity of the individual, and כָּבוֹד הַאֻמָּה (kavod ha-ummah), glory of the people [of Israel].

There is no existence to the world without it, all the more so in the days of the atom and the hydrogen bombs.

People must be hired to circulate the above words in public. Egoistic communism precedes altruistic communism, for once it has control so as to abolish property, it is possible to educate that abolishment of property will be due to the love of others.

The second phase of communism, being altruistic communism, must be hurried, since the shortcomings and force used in egoistic communism, deter the world from this method altogether. Hence, it is time to uncover the final stage of altruistic communism, which possesses all the pleasantness, and has no blemish. We must also fear, lest the third war breaks out first, and communism will vanish from the world. In a word, there is no harder blow to the capitalist government than this above-mentioned perfect form of communism.

We are already witnessing that the capitalist regime is strong and the proletariat of the capitalist countries loath the communist regime. This is happening because of the coercion and the force necessitated in it because of the control of a small group of communists over an anti-communist society. Hence, we are not to expect that the regime will be nullified by itself. Quite the contrary, time works in their favor. As long as communist governments will surround the world, coercion and subjection entailed in it will be revealed, and which every ordinary person utterly loathes, since one will sacrifice everything for one’s freedom.

There is another thing: Since communism is not spreading in civilized countries, but in primitive ones, eventually, there will be a society of rich countries with high living standard and capitalistic government, and a society of poor countries with a low standard of living and a communist government. That will be the end of communism. Not a single free person will want to hear of it; it will be abhorred as the concept of slaves sold for life is abhorred today. For expansion and circulation: We must remember that all the agony, poverty and slaying, etc., cannot be corrected except through altruistic communism. In that event, it will not be hard for a person to give his life for it.

Judaism must present something new to the nations. This is what they expect from the return of Israel to the Land. It is not in other teachings, for in that we never innovated. We have always been their disciples. Rather, it is the wisdom of religion, justice, and peace. In this, most nations are our disciples, and this wisdom is attributed to us alone. If this return is annulled, Zionism will be annulled altogether. This country is very poor, and its residents are destined to endure much suffering. Undoubtedly, either they or their children will gradually leave the country, and only an insignificant number will remain, which will ultimately be swallowed among the Arabs.

The solution for it is only altruistic communism. Not only does it unite all the nations to be as one, helping one another, it also endows each with tolerance to one another. Most importantly: communism produces great power to work; hence, productivity will compensate for the disadvantages of poverty. If they assume this religion, the Temple can be built and the ancient glory restored. This would certainly prove to the nations the propriety of Israel’s return to their Land, even to the Arabs [cf. Qur’an 5:20–21 (6)]. However, a secular return such as today’s does not impress the nations whatsoever, and we must fear lest they will sell Israel’s independence for their needs, needless to mention returning Jerusalem—this would even frighten the Catholics.

Section thirteen
Thus far, I have shown that communism and altruism are one and the same, and also, that egoism and anti-communism are the same. However, all this is my own doctrine. If you ask the communist leaders themselves, they will deny it unreservedly. Instead, they would maintain that they are far from any sentimentality and bourgeois morality, and seek only justice by way of “mine is mine and yours is yours” (all this has come to them because of their connection with the proletariat). Thus, let us examine things according to their perception, and scrutinize this justice that they seek. According to the development of today’s governments, the definitions “bourgeois” and “proletariat” are no longer sufficient to explain history. We need more general definitions. They should be determined by the names “industrious” (which in the second regime are the capitalist, and in the communist regime), and “primitive.”

Any society is divided into industrious and primitive. Some twenty percent are industrious, and eighty percent are primitive. It is a law of nature that the industrious class exploits the primitive class, like fish at sea, where the strong swallow up the weak. In that regard, it makes no difference whether the industrious are bourgeois capitalists, or managers, supervisors, and intelligentsia. In the end, the same industrious twenty percent will always suck the cream, and leave the meager whey to the primitive. But the question is how much they exploit the primitive, and which kind exploit the primitive more—the bourgeois, or the managers and supervisors.

Section fourteen
The basis of this entire explanation is the manifestation of the substance of creation, spiritual and material, being nothing but the desire to receive, which is existence from absence. However, what this substance receives extends existence from existence. Thus, it is clearly known what is good, and what the LORD demands of us, namely, parity of form. By the nature of its creation, our body is but a desire to receive, and not [a desire] to give whatsoever. This is opposite to the Creator, who is all giving, and [having] no [desire] to receive whatsoever, because from whom would He receive? It is in this disparity of form that creation has become separated from the Creator. Hence, we are obligated in Torah and mitsvot which satisfy our Maker, and to give to one’s fellow. All this in order to acquire the form of giving, and to cleave once more to the Creator as before creation.

The difference between me and Schopenhauer He perceives it as an essence on its own, while I perceive it as a type and a predicate. Its essence may be unknown, but whatever it may be, it extends existence from existence. He perceives the desire itself as an ambition that no goal can end, but is rather a constant ascent and perpetual drive. With me, however, it is limited to receiving certain things, and can be satiated, meaning directed. However, attaining the goal increases the desire to receive, as in, “He who has one hundred wants two hundred…” [see Ecclesiastes 5:9; Qohelet Rabbah on 1:13 and 3:10: “None leave the world with (even) half of his desires in his hand”]. Prior to that, the desire to receive was limited to obtaining only one hundred; it did not want two hundred. In this manner, the perpetual desire is expansion of the desire; it is the desire to receive itself.

He does not differentiate between the desire to give and the desire to receive. With me, only the desire to receive is the essence of the creature, while the desire to give in it is a divine light, ascribed to the Creator, not to the creature. He perceives the desire itself as an object, considering it a form and an occurrence in the object. With me, the emphasis is rather on the form of the desire, meaning the desire to receive, but the carrier of the form of the desire to receive is an unknown essence.
1) […] since he considers the desire the subject, he must define some general, formless desire. Thus, he chooses the endless aspiration for materials, and what it wants is the form. Yet, in truth, there is no endless yearning here, but a growing desire, which grows according to the direction, and it is a form and a case in the desire.
A. In his method, it is an essence; in mine, a form.
B. In his method it is a never-ending desire; in mine, it is limited in its direction.
C. In his method, there is no difference between giving and receiving; in mine, the desire to give is a spark of the Creator.
D. In his method, the yearning is a substance, and the quality of the reception, the form; in mine, the quality of reception is the substance of creation and the subject of the quality is unknown. Whatever it is, it is existence from existence.

Leaders of the generation
The masses tend to believe that the leader has no personal commitments and interests, but that he has dedicated and abandoned his private life for the common good. Indeed, this is how it should be. If the leader harms a member of the public due to personal interest, he is a traitor and a liar. Once the public learns of it, they will immediately trample him to the ground. There are two kinds of personal interests: Material interests and abstract interests. There is not a leader in the world who will not fail the public for abstract interests. For example, if one is merciful, and hence refrains from uprooting evildoers or warning about them, then he ruins the public in favor of a personal interest. He might also fear vengeance, even the vengeance of the Creator, and thus deter from making necessary corrections. Thus, if he wishes to annul material interests, he will not wish to annul the idealistic or religious interests in favor of the public, though they may be only his own personal feelings. The general public may have no dealings with them, for they notice only the word “interest,” since even the most idealistic thing does not stand in the way of “interest.”

Action before thought
As in desire and love, the exertion over an object creates love and appreciation toward the object. In much the same way, good deeds beget love for the Creator, love begets cleaving, and cleaving begets intelligence and knowledge.

Three axioms
Seemingly free, seemingly immortal, seemingly […]. They are relative to the practical reason (ethics), to the most sublime good.

Truth and falsehood
It is known that thought and matter, [i.e.,] desire, are two modifications [differences of form] of the same thing. Thus, the psychological counterpart of material absence and existence is truth and falsehood. In this manner, truth, like existence, is the thesis, and falsehood, like absence, is the antithesis. The desired synthesis is the offspring of both [see Hegel].

Personal opinion and public opinion
The opinion of the individual is like a mirror where all the pictures of the beneficial and detrimental acts are gathered. One looks at those experiences, sorts out the good and beneficial ones, and rejects the acts that have harmed him. This is called the “memory brain.” For example, the merchant follows in his mind all kinds of merchandise where he suffered losses, and why. It is likewise with merchandise that profited him, and the reasons. They are arranged like a mirror of experiences in his mind. Subsequently, he sorts out the good, and rejects the bad. Finally, he becomes a good and successful merchant. One deals in much the same way with every experience in life. In much the same way, the public has a collective mind—a memory brain, and collective imagination—where all the acts related to the general public are embedded with regard to every person, the beneficial ones and the detrimental ones. And they also choose the beneficial acts and doers, and want those who do them to persist. In addition, all the doers of bad deeds that harm the public are embedded in the imagining and remembering brain, and they loathe them and seek tactics to be rid of them. Hence, they praise and glorify the doers of the beneficial acts, to motivate them increasingly to these acts. This is where ideals, idealism, and every good attribute come from, as well as the wisdom of ethics. Conversely, they will vehemently condemn the doers of detrimental actions, so as to stop and be rid of them. This is provenance of every evil trait, sin, and ignobility in the human species. Thus, individual opinion operates just like public opinion. Yet, this is true only with regard to benefit and harm.

The corruption in public opinion
The corruption in public opinion is that the public is not arranged according to its majority, but only according to the powerful, meaning the ambitious. It is as they say, that twenty people rule all of France. In most cases, they are the rich, which are but ten percent of the public, and they are always the ignorant among the people (even in the eyes of the public). They harm the public and exploit them. Hence, the public opinion is not in control of the world whatsoever. Rather, it is the opinion of the detrimental that controls the public. Thus, even the idealists that were sanctified in the world are but demons and evildoers regarding the majority of the public. Not only religion, but justice, too, is favoring the rich alone, all the more so ethics and ideals.

The origin of democracy and socialism
This is where the idea of democracy stems from, so the majority of the public will take the judicial system and politics into their own hands. socialism also, calls for the proletariat to take their destiny into their own hands. In short, the majority wants to determine public opinion, decide between beneficial and detrimental for them, and determine all the laws and ideals accordingly.

The contradiction between democracy and socialism
The contradiction between democracy and socialism, as seen in Russia, is that ten percent control the entire public in absolute dictatorship. The reason is simple: Just division requires idealism. This is not found among the majority of the public. Hence, ultimately, there is no cure for this except through religion, from above. This will turn the entire public into idealists.

Contact with Him
People imagine that a person who has contact with the Creator is a person […] Nature, and that they should fear speaking to him, much less be in His immediate vicinity. It is human nature to fear anything outside the nature of creation. People are also afraid of uncommon phenomena, such as thunder and loud noises. However, He is not so. This is because in fact, there is nothing more natural than coming into contact with one’s Maker, for He has made Nature. In fact, every creature has contact with his Maker, as is written, The fullness of all the earth is His glory (Isaiah 6:3), except we do not know or feel it. Actually, one who is awarded contact with Him attains only the awareness. It is as though one has a treasure in his pocket, and he does not know it. Along comes another and lets him know what is in his pocket. Now he really has become rich. Yet, there is nothing new here, no cause for excitement. In fact, nothing has been added in actuality. The same is true with one who has been granted the gift of knowing that he is the blessed Holy One’s son: nothing has changed in his actual reality, except the awareness he had not had before. Consequently, the person who attains this becomes even more natural, simple, and exceedingly humble. It might even be said that before the endowment, that person and all the people were outside of the simple nature. This is because now he is equal, simple and understands all people, and is very much involved with them. There is no one closer to folk than him, and only he that they should love, for they have no closer brother than him.

Rebuilding the world (see Personal opinion and public opinion, and The contradiction between democracy and socialism)
It has been clarified there that until now public opinion evolved and was built according to the powerful ones in society, meaning the ambitious. It is only recently that the masses have evolved through religion, through schools, and revolutions, and have perceived the method of democracy and socialism. However, according to the law of nature that a wild ass is born a man (Job 11:12) and man is the descendant of a wild beast, or an ape, like Darwin’s theory and [that of] the Sages [too]. After the [primordial] sin, the human species devolved into monkeys, for “All compared to Eve are like a monkey compared to a human being” [see BT Bava Batra 58a: “Compared with Sarah, all other people are like a monkey to a human being, and compared with Eve Sarah was like a monkey to a human being, and compared with Adam Eve was like a monkey to a human being, and compared with the Shekhinah Adam was like a monkey to a human being. The beauty of Rabbi Kahana was a reflection of the beauty of Rabbi Abbahu; the beauty of Rabbi Abbahu was a reflection of the beauty of our father Jacob, and the beauty of Jacob was a reflection of the beauty of Adam”]. Indeed, according to the virtue of man, which consists of intellectual preparation, he continued to evolve through incidents and suffering, and adopted religion and the rule of law and order until he managed to finally become civilized. However, this entire evolution was laid on the shoulders of the greater part of society, and the masses followed them since the world is a shapeless mass [lit., כֵּיוָן שֶׁעוֹלָם גּוֹלֶם (keiyan she-olam golem), since the world is a golem].

When the masses opened their eyes to take their fate into their own hands, they were forced to abolish all the corrections and statutes of the powerful, being religion, law, order, and diplomacy [cf. Proverbs 12:1: Who loves reproof loves knowledge, but who hates rebuke is a brute]. All of which was only according to the spirit of the powerful, according to their evolution and for their own benefit (see Personal opinion and public opinion, and The contradiction between democracy and socialism). Thus, they were obligated to build the world anew. In other words, they are like primitive man, the Darwinian ape, since they are not the ones who undergo these experiences which bring their measure of development. Until today, the march of progress was solely on the shoulders of the powerful and not on the masses, who until now, were virgin soil. Thus, the world is now in a state of total ruin. It is very primitive in the sense of political affairs, as in the age of cavemen […]. They have not undergone the experiences and actions that brought the powerful to take upon themselves religion, etiquette, law and order. Hence, if we let the world develop naturally, today’s world must undergo all the ruin and suffering that primitive man experienced, until they are forced to accept a permanent and beneficial state law. The first fruit of the ruin came upon us in the form of Nazism, which is ultimately merely a direct offshoot of democracy and socialism, meaning of the leadership of the majority, once the restraints of religion, manners, and justice have been removed.

Nazism is not an offshoot of Germany
It turns out that the world erroneously believes Nazism a unique offshoot of Germany. In truth, it is the offshoot of a democracy and socialism that were left without religion, manners, and justice. Thus, all the nations are equal in that; there is no hope whatsoever that Nazism will perish with the victory of the allies, for tomorrow the Anglo-Saxons will adopt Nazism, since they, too, live in a world of democracy and Nazism. Remember, democrats too, must renounce religion, manners, and justice like the Marxists, because all these are loyal servants of only the ambitious in the public. They always place obstacles before the democrats, or the better part of the public. It is true that the thoughtful among the democrats keep a watchful eye that religion and manners are not destroyed at once, for they know that the world will be ruined. However, to that extent they also interfere with the government of the majority. Once the majority grows smart and understands them, it will certainly elect other leaders, such as Hitler, since he is a genuine representative of the majority of the public, be it German, Anglo-Saxon, or Polish.

The one counsel Unlike the democrats, who wish to nullify religion and manners gradually, and adopt a new politics in a manner that will not ruin the world, the masses will not wait for them at all. Rather, as is said, “A synagogue should not be demolished before another has been built to take its place” (BT Bava Batra 3b). In other words, we are forbidden to let the powerful ones take hold of the leadership before we build religion, conduct, and politics suitable for them, because in the meantime the world will be ruined, and there will be none to speak to.

Not complete nihilism, but nihilism of values (such as Nietzsche with regards to the values of Christianity), meaning all the values in religious conduct, ethics, and politics that have been thus far accepted in the perception of humanism. All these are compromises in the qualities of egoism of the individual, the state, or God’s servant. And I say that any measure of egoism is fallible, indeed detrimental, and there is no other arrangement except altruism, in the individual, the public, and the LORD.

Materialistic Monism
Substance fathers everything, and thought is the result of behavior and the senses, much like a mirror. There is no free will, only freedom of choice. However, not by itself, for wicked deeds induce wicked deeds [see BT Shabbat 104a: “If one comes to defile himself, they open for him; if one comes to purify himself, he is assisted”], and the freedom of deeds is perceived by looking (in the mirror of called upon actions) through another person’s mind. Then one has the freedom to obey it. And he will not be able to choose from his own mirror, or mind, since every man’s way seems right in his own eyes, and his mind always consents.

Beyond this world
Beyond this world we must research and examine only subjectively and pragmatically (practically). This is the conduct of research in this world, though it is [really] beyond it, since it apprehends by means of measurements clothed in the nature of this world, and also according the practical benefit (pragmatically).

What is beyond this world?
Only the Omnipresent is necessary, since “He is the Place of the world, the world is not His place” (Bereshit Rabbah 68:10 on Genesis 28:11). It is He alone that we apprehend, yet He is also beyond this world and nothing else [i.e., transcendent], unlike pantheism. This world is an objective term, which can be comprehended objectively as well. Its first principles are “time” and “space.” Outside of this world, which are the worlds of אָדָם הַקַדְמוֹן (adam ha-qadmon), the Primordial Human, and ABiYA, only subjective comprehension is possible, without touching the object whatsoever. The essence of the objects we define by the names ABiYA follow the assumption that since everyone perceives so without exception (meaning a chosen few in each generation, which are the tens of thousands and the millions that were, and are destined to come). Thus, we have objective attainment there, though we do not touch the objects whatsoever. From here come the four worlds above this world, though by nature they are only subjective, clothing the natures of this world in the two ways—expansion and thought, namely abstract/material correspondence. This is so because we experience any object according to two forms: first material, and next abstract, and they always go together, in a parallel manner. It is known that many in this world, too, perceive the method of “expressionism,” meaning solely by subjective perception. However, I also conform to “impressionism” to explain concepts of this world as objectively as possible, minimizing the interference of subjective reinforcement.

The essence of religion
The essence of religion is only understood pragmatically, as written by James [see William James, The Will to Believe]. The origin of faith is in the need for the truth in it, inasmuch as it satisfies this need. There are two kinds of needs: An abstract need—without it, life would become sickeningly detestable—and a material need. This need appears primarily in the social order, such as in ethics and politics, as Kant had written, “Faith is the basis of morality, and guards it” [see Kant’s “moral faith” in Critique of Pure Reason]. Naturally, sages will come solely from among those with the abstract need, for they also need it objectively. However, the second part will derive satisfaction, namely truth, also subjectively. However, from “Not for its own sake… to for its own sake” (BT Pesaḥim 50b) The need comes before the reason that necessitates faith.

The leaders of the public
For oneself, one may choose between expressionism and impressionism. However, the leaders are not permitted to lead the public in any other way but a positive and pragmatic one, meaning according to expressionism. This is because they cannot harm the public for their personal interest.
For example, they cannot instruct a certain faith to the public in order to understand their own impressionism, thus denying moral conduct and ethics from the public. If one cannot control oneself, he had better resign and not harm the public with his ideals.

Perception of the world
The world was created through הִתפַּתְחוּת בְּסִבָּתִיוּת (hitpatḥut be-sibbatiyut), evolutionary causation, by way of historical materialism, and according to the dialectics of Hegel—thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. Indeed, the purpose is to sense the blessed Holy One, from mineral, vegetable, animal, and human, up until prophecy—the knowledge of Him [see Rabbi Yehudah Halevi, Kuzari, 1:31–43. Cf. Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag, Panim Meirot u-MasbirotHaqdamah, 3: ‘Mineral, vegetable, animal, human, corresponding to the masses, the affluent, heroes, and sages’]. Pleasure is the thesis, suffering the antithesis, and sensing what is outside of one’s own skin is the synthesis.

The essence of corruption and correction is in public opinion
As private opinion determines one’s own gains and losses and brings one to the most successful business, so public opinion determines the policy, and chooses the most successful. However, there is quantity and there is quality.

Quantity versus quality
Until now, the qualitative (who are the ambitious), determined and made the views of the entire public, and therefore all the justice and morality. Religion was used to harm the majority, which are 80% of society.

The majority is as primitive as pre-historic man
The majority is as primitive as prehistoric man. This is so because they have not tried to utilize justice, religion, and morality, which were used by others until today. However, of course, all these came to the present state only through great pains in the path of causality and dialectics. The majority paid no heed to it, and at any rate, cannot grasp it.

The quickest action is religion
In order to activate public opinion anew in the majority in an effective manner, there is no faster way than religion, the loathing of any measure of desire to receive, and elevating the beauty of the desire to give to a great extent. This must be done specifically through action. Although the abstract and material are counterparts, still, the material precedes the abstract.

A prodigy is a product of the generation. He has a strong drive to give, and does not need a thing for himself. As such, he is in parity of form with the Creator, and naturally cleaves to Him. He emanates wisdom and pleasure from Him and bestows upon humankind. There are two types of prodigy: One who serves his Maker consciously, and therefore bestows upon humanity, and one who serves unconsciously, meaning that he does not feel and does not know that he is cleaving to the Creator—he cleaves to Him unconsciously. He only bestows upon humanity, thus there is no progress for humanity, except to instill in them the desire to give, and to increase prodigies in the world.

Teleology is necessary in Kabbalah, according to the method of anthropocentricity, that the worlds were created for Israel, and they are the purpose. Moreover, the Creator consulted with the souls of the righteous. Their purpose is also brought in the prophecy For the earth shall be filled with knowledge of YHWH (Isaiah 11:9). There is no more specific purpose than this. Maimonides takes after the method of dysteleology, and says that the blessed Holy One has for creation other purposes besides man. It is difficult for him to comprehend that the blessed Holy One created a great creation such as this, with planetary systems in which our planet is as trivial in its existence as a mustard seed, and all this was only for the purpose of the perfection of man. Purpose is imperative for any intelligent person, and the agent without a purpose lacks a mind. By His acts we know Him. He has created the world in mineral, vegetable, animal, and human. The human is the apex of Creation, since he senses others and bestows upon them. Above the human is the prophet, who feels the blessed Holy One and knows Him [see Rabbi Yehudah Halevi, Kuzari, 1:31–43. Cf. Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag, Panim Meirot u-MasbirotHaqdamah, 3]. This is perceived as satisfying Him and His purpose in the entirety of Creation.

Hegel’s question is that necessarily, there are purposeless creatures in Nature, like many things on our planet, and the countless planets that mankind does not make use of whatsoever. The answer is in accordance with the law that, “the unknown does not contradict the known,” and that “the judge has only what his eyes see” (BT Sanhedrin 6b). Perhaps there is mineral, vegetable, animal, and human [lit., speaking] on each and every planet but its purpose is [the category called] “speaking.” So too with the unknown. And how can that contradict the known and familiar in the way of prophecy? This is simple: It is pleasurable for the Creator to create an object that will be qualified for negotiation with Him, and exchange opinions, etc. There is also pleasure in having something that is not of the same kind, and we trust the prophecy completely.

Causality and choice
There is a path of suffering, by which one repays unconsciously according to dialecticism, where each state conceals the absence within. The state exists as long as the absence in it has not appeared. When the antithesis manifests and develops, it destroys the thesis, and brings in its place a more complete state than the first, as it contains the correction of the previous antithesis (this is so because any absence precedes presence). Hence, the second state is called “synthesis,” meaning that it includes and is an upshot of both, the presence and the absence, which preceded this new state. Likewise, truth always follows and is perfected by the path of suffering, which is presence and absence, thesis and antithesis, and always yields truer syntheses until the appearance of the perfect synthesis. But what is perfection? In historical materialism [cf. dialectical materialism], the aforementioned path of suffering is clarified only with relation to economic desires, where each thesis means just governance for its time, each antithesis means unjust division in the economy, and each synthesis is governance that settles the antithesis that has been revealed, and nothing more. For this reason, absence is concealed in it as well. When the absence develops, it destroys that synthesis too, and so forth, until just division manifests.

Path of Torah
The path of Torah is placing fate in the hands of the oppressed. This accelerates the End to the extent that the oppressed watch over it. This is called “choice,” since now the choice is in the hands of the concerned parties. Thus, the path of suffering is an objective act, the path of Torah is a subjective act, and fate is in the hands of the concerned parties. The principle: Giving to others. The governance—a regime that mandates a minimum for life, and good deeds toward society’s standard of living. The purpose and the goal: Cleaving to Him. In my opinion, this is the final synthesis where absence is no longer concealed.

Good deeds and mitsvot
Locke said that there is nothing in the mind that does not come in the senses first. In addition, Spinoza said, “I do not want something because it is good, but it is good because I want it” [see idem. Ethics 3:9: “It is clear that we neither strive for, nor will, neither want, nor desire anything because we judge it to be good; on the contrary, we judge something to be good because we strive for it, will it, want it, and desire it.” Cf. Maimonides, Guide of the Perplexed 3:13]. We must add to this there is nothing in the senses that is not present in actions first. Thus, actions beget sensation, and sensation begets understanding. For example, it is impossible for the senses to take pleasure in giving before they actually giving. Moreover, it is impossible to understand and perceive the great importance of giving before it is experienced [lit., tasted] by the senses. Likewise, it is impossible to taste pleasure in cleaving before one performs many good deeds can affect it, meaning by strict observance of this condition to please Him, or in other words, delight in the pleasure given to the Creator by performing the mitsvah. After one feels the great pleasure in the act, it is possible to understand Him, to the extent of that pleasure. And if […] for eternal and perpetual pleasure from bringing contentment to Him, then he will be rewarded with knowing […].

As seen above, there are two modes to religion: 1) “not for its own sake,” which is pure utilitarianism, meaning aiming to establish morality for one’s own good. One is satisfied when attaining this tendency. And there is a second tendency to religion, being an abstract need to cleave to Him. This is called “for its own sake.” One can be rewarded with the above through actions, and from “Not for its own sake… to for its own sake” (BT Pesaḥim 50b).

Life’s tendency
There are three views in books and in research: either ideas about how to attain cleaving to Him; or to acquire progress, called utilitarianism, or carnal pleasure, called Hedonism. I only wish Hedonism were true. The trouble is that the pains are greater than the little carnal pleasure that one can delight in. Besides the flaw of the day of death, and the method of utilitarianism to bring progress to the world, there is a big question here: Who enjoys this complete progress that I pay so heavily for with pains and torments? It seems that only ideals whose tendency is man’s happiness, thereby improving all the abstract forces, impart to one respect in life and a good name after his death. Kant mocked this method of establishing a moral thesis on an egoistic tendency and instructed doing in order to not receive reward. Modern science has chosen for itself utilitarianism, but only for the common good, meaning to give. This is also similar to “in order not to receive reward,” and who would want it? There is also the question: What will this progress bring to the generations, for which I work with so much pain to give this? At the very least, I have the right to know what is required of progress, and who one will enjoy it. Who would be so gullible as to pay so heavily without knowing its effect? The whole trouble is that pleasure is brief, and the suffering, long.

Life’s purpose
From all that was said you will find that life’s purpose is to attain cleaving to Him, strictly in order to benefit the Creator, or to merit the public to attain cleaving to Him.

Two enslavements in the world
There are two enslavements in the world, either enslavement to the Creator, or enslavement to His creatures. One of them is a must. Even a king and a president necessarily serve the people. Indeed, the taste of complete freedom is only to one who is enslaved to the Creator alone, and not to any being in the world. Enslavement is necessary, for reception is obscene; it is beastliness. And giving, the question is “to whom?”

Section One

Pragmatic communism
Accepting the religion of love your fellow as yourself (Leviticus 19:18)—literally. Just division of the profits, where each will work according to his ability, and receive according to his needs. Property is kept, but its owner is forbidden to receive from the profits more than he actually needed. One type of property owners will be kept under public supervisors, another type by self-fiduciary, or books. The unemployed will receive their needs equally with the employed. Those who live in communes will earn the same wages as workers who are property owners, and the profits made by the communal life will be made into public property belonging to the members of that collective. There must also be an effort to build communal life for workers in towns.

The workers, and even more so those who are afraid of being unemployed, will certainly assume the religion, thus acquiring security in their lives. The idealistic property owners will also assume the religion by indoctrination on a religious basis. Public opinion must be such that one who takes more than one needs is like a murderer. Because of him, the world will have to continue with the slaughter, Hitlerian conduct, and terrible wars. Thus, communism will be promoted. It is possible to make the life of property owners miserable by contracts and strikes, so they assume the religion since they do not touch their property, only the profits. Since the religion will be international, it will be possible to win the hearts of the Arab Sheiks with money and religious influence—so they assume the religion together with us as one unit, and promote it among the Arab workers and property owners. That, in turn, will benefit Zionism. Because they will assume the religion that necessitates love and giving to all of humanity equally, they will not be envious of the “robbing” of the Land, since they will understand that the Land is the LORD’s. The standard of living of the Arabs will be equal to the standard of living of the Jews. This will be a great incentive in winning their hearts.

Section Two

Private opinion and public opinion
As there is private opinion, which is one’s judgmental force where all the good and bad actions are copied, and as one chooses the good and rejects the bad as though looking in a mirror, so is there a collective intellect to the public, where the good actions for society and bad ones are copied. Public opinion sorts out the ones that are good for it, praises their doers, and condemns those who do otherwise. From here emerge ideals, leaders, rules, and preferences.

The corruption in public opinion: the powerful ones
Until today, only the ambitious had the judgment and the force to lead, being the better part, as it is said, that twenty people lead all of France, and they make public opinion. They have arranged justice, morality, and religion to their benefit. Since they exploit the majority of the public, the religion, law, and ethics are hence detrimental to the public, meaning to the majority. Bear in mind that the current government of the ambitious was quite sufficient until today because the masses did not have any force of judgment. Thus, all the ruins preceding today’s political order were only among the ambitious. However, they did not come to the present order within one generation’s time, but through terrible ruins, until they have conceived the religion, ethics, and law that have brought order to the world.

The new structure
In recent generations, due to pressure and necessity, and through democracy and socialism, the masses have begun to open their eyes and assume responsibility for the management of society by the majority. Thus, they have concluded that religion, manners, governance, and justice are all to their detriment, as it is true that it serves the ambitious ten percent of the public, and harms all the others. Thus, two images of collective government emerged: either as the Nazis, who have rebelled against religion, manners, and justice, and do as the primitive man, prior to the conduct of life of the ambitious, or as the Soviets, where ten percent of the public controls the entire public by dictatorship. This will certainly not last long, in light of the historical dialectic. If manners are abandoned, Israel’s enemies will wipe out everyone. In short, we will necessarily and undoubtedly return to being cave dwellers (the masses, too), until the majority learn the dialectics on their own flesh and bones (as did the powerful ones before them), and finally agree to order.

Thus, Nazism is not a German patent
If we bear in mind that the masses are not idealists, then there is no counsel but religion, from which manners and justice naturally emanate. However, now they only serve the majority. How so? Through the religion of giving. The principle of giving to one’s fellow. The leadership: commitment to a certain minimum, and commandment for a standard of living.

The goal: cleaving to the Creator

Nazism is the fruit of socialism
Idealists are few, and the true carriers, the workers and the farmers, are egoists. If a preacher such as Hitler were to arise in any nation, saying that national socialism is more convenient and beneficial to them than cosmopolitanism, why would they not listen to him?

1) If Nazism and its ruin had been conceived some years back, and if some wise men were to devise a plan to save them through devout religion that would suffice for protection, would it have been forbidden in the name of falsehood?

2) If, after the war, the nations come to an understanding that Israel must be dispersed to the four corners, and drive us out of our land, and a certain person would come and reinstate religion (so as to stand devotedly) between us and the nations, thus making them agree to the opposite, that even the Diaspora would come to Israel, would that have been forbidden?

3) If the Nazis, perish the thought, prevail and rule the world, and wish to destroy the remnant of Jacob, is it permissible to establish religion among all nations in order to save the nation?

Faith stems from a need; it is true as long as it satisfies that need (William James). Thus, the need is the reason for faith, and the satisfaction of the need is its truthfulness. Two needs: First, a material need to establish social life; this is its trueness. Second, an abstract need, without which life is loathsome; this is “for its own sake.” Of course, the sages of religion come from the abstract need, but from “Not for its own sake… to for its own sake” (BT Pesaḥim 50b) (see Pragmatic truth).

Life’s direction:
1) To bring progress and happiness to society through modern science.
2) By perfecting all of one’s mental powers, one will attain dignity in life and a good name after death. Kant mocks it as egoism, and indicated that only not in order to receive reward. We must understand: If it is not worthwhile to live for myself, is it worthwhile to live for a thousand others like me, or a billion? Thus, the direction must be to benefit the Creator, whether for oneself, or for the entire world, to award them cleaving to Him.

Truth and falsehood
Truth and falsehood are a psychic replica of existence and absence, which are thesis and antithesis, from which stem the “ephemeral truth,” which is a synthesis. This is a pragmatic truth, lasting until the “absolute truth” appears, where there will be no falsehood in one’s conscience.
Example no. 4 (see above): Would ancient, primitive humanity, which slaughtered and killed each other like wild animals, permit the establishment of a religious government?
Example no. 5 (see above): In my childhood I did not want to read novels so as not to deal with lies. I read only history. When I grew up and understood the value of them, that they develop the imagination, they became truth for me.

From the perspective of “for its own sake” (BT Pesaḥim 50b) it is an emotional need. Admittedly, they are few, as is written, “saw that the righteous are few… and planted them in every generation,” that they may have demand from birth [cf. BT Ḥagigah 13b]. However, some abhor material life. If they do not accomplish the goal of cleaving, they will commit suicide.

The religious principle: from “not for its own sake… to for its own sake”
Providence has prepared the guidance of people in an egoistic manner, which will necessarily bring about the world’s destruction unless we accept the religion of giving. Hence, there is a pragmatic need for it, and from this one comes to “for its own sake.”

What is an emotional need?
As a blind person cannot perceive color, nor a eunuch the joy of sex, it is impossible to depict this need to one who lacks the emotional need. And yet, it is a must.

Performing mitsvot
Performing mitsvot can become for one an emotional need.

Morality of manners
Morality of manners means good qualities, virtues, not in order to be rewarded, and without external necessity, but based solely on altruism and a sense of responsibility for human society. It is achieved by education. However, education requires public approval to keep and sustain it after one departs from under the authority of the education. But public opinion does not stem from the education, but only from the benefit of the public. The benefit of the public is evaluated only according to the specific state of that public, which is necessarily in contrast with other states and countries. Hence, how will education help in that? The proof is that the manner, and even the religion, sufficient for internationality, has not been created, as killing and looting rule everywhere, without any manners whatsoever. Moreover, the greater murderer one is, the more patriotic and well mannered he is considered. And today, it is international manner that we need.

Public egoism can be corrected only by religion
Public egoism can be corrected only by religion because education that is based on nothing can be easily ruined by any wicked person, and Germany is the evidence. If Hitler appeared in a religious Germany, he would not have done a thing [cf. Heinrich Heine].

Natural egoism
You will not break natural egoism with artificial means such as public opinion and education. There is no cure for that but a natural religion.

Double benefit
The religion of giving is beneficial to both body and mind. Hence, it is necessitated and agreed upon more than any method in the world (see below at length).

Motive power
There are two discernments in it: The attracting force, from before, or the repelling force, from behind. How can education help when one is free, without any motivation for the duties he was brought up on? After all, there is no attracting force in them, and they are also devoid of the compelling force.

The remaining of the soul
This is a given, as it is a part of the blessed Holy One above. However, it is not included in the wisdom of Kabbalah because no object is attainable. Indeed, the soul appears to the person who carries it only through actions, and its actions are only attainments of Him. It is therefore clear that the maxim, “Know yourself and know all,” is from […] philosophical because in Kabbalah the opposite should be said, “Know everything and, attain yourself.” An object is not attained whatsoever, only actions, which are attainments of His names, meaning only subjective.

Five senses
The power in commandments is similar to corporeality, where the actions stimulate the senses. And when the senses remain […] in the memory brain, they become there images of beneficial, detrimental, and property. And when the mind or the will or the guard […] looks in the image of the memory, one gradually scrutinizes the images and brings the truths closer, meaning the beneficial or the property, and rejects the falsehoods, which are the detrimental. Man’s knowledge grows according to the clarity of the scrutiny. And if in mathematics, he should attach to it images that are beneficial for clarity and validity. They also save time because these help him, as in existing property. The same goes for playing music, healing, and an attribute. It is similar with spiritual acts, which […] the mitsvot that cultivate man’s spiritual senses. There are two kinds of senses here: either sight, hearing, smell, and speech, which are ord[inary…] and also Ḥesed, Gevurah, Tifferet and Netsaḥ, Hod of the body. It is so because perpetuation of good deeds from […] in one who serves with the spirit of “love,” and when it accumulates into a sizable amount […] in him the sense of “fear” of sinning and losing the love. And when he is certain […] of himself that he has a sense of love and fear, a sense of boasting […] over his companions who were not rewarded with it is born in him (and this is property).

And following the three senses […] the “eternity” is born in him as a mighty one who directs his spirit. And according to all the sensations of these four senses, “glory” is born in him, as he admits the existence of the Creator. And with each commandment that he adds, the five above mentioned lower senses and the flavors of the commandments intensify in him. When they accumulate to the required amount, the five higher senses, sight-hearing-smell-speech, are born in him, to actually see His glory and hear the voice of the Creator, smell the fear of Him, and speak before Him. And when one is rewarded further, images of the impressions of the five lower senses and the five upper senses remain with him, and he looks as though through the mirror of the brain at these impressions, and sorts out the beneficial and the […] and rejects the detrimental. And according to the clarity of the scrutinies, the knowledge of the Creator will increase.

Luxury and accumulated property
As in corporeality, so in learning […]. In external teachings there is economics […]. And medicine is regarded as scrutinies that help the standard of living for […] as luxury. This is the first degree of property. The second degree is accumulating property, which is not as useful as wealth. This is the science of […] and an attribute, and playing music. Likewise, in spirituality, the scrutinies that can be used […] are for a spiritual standard of living, and a non-accumulating property. There are also higher scrutinies that do not serve for the standard of living, but only as accumulating property and for important possessions such as wealth and the attribute, and philosophy. However, both come from spiritual images that were once absorbed in the senses. And choosing the beneficial for oneself or for others is called “the knowledge of the Creator.” Know that the Wisdom of Kabbalah also contains these three kinds of property.

Abstract/material correspondence
These are two manifestations of the same entity, like thunder and lightning. This is the meaning of “good deeds and Torah.” However, a person first responds to the abstract explanation, and then the material one. It is similar to love, where the giver of the present first feels in his heart-mind that the giver loves him, and then sparks of love flow and spread through him […]. A revealing head is abstract, and inside it clothes […].

The root cause of every error in the world The root cause of every error in the world is an idea—when taking an idea or an image that was once clothed in a body, and presenting it as an abstract object that has never been in a body. That is, it is when it is praised or condemned according to that abstract value. The problem is that once the concept has been stripped of a body, it loses significant parts of its initial meaning while it was clothed in a body. Those who discuss it according to its remaining meaning must necessarily misunderstand. For example, when truth and falsehood work in the body, we praise the truth according to its benefit to the individual or to the […] and we condemn the lie according to its harm to the collective or to the individual. However, once truth and falsehood have been stripped of the bodies and become abstract concepts, they lose the heart of their meaning […] and acquire sanctity or impurity in their abstract form. And according to […] it is possible for the evaluator to praise the truth even when it does great harm to the collective or to the individual, and to condemn […] the lie even when it is extremely beneficial to the individual or to the collective. This is a grave error that harms the […] and one is not free to ask oneself who sanctified this truth, or […] defiled and forbade this lie.

Benefit, in fact, everyone admits it
Those who dispute it, it is […] that they benefit […] and a moral conduct that at times contradicts the material benefit. However, essentially, moral and religion are also utilitarian […] everything, except spiritual happiness, and what is the difference? There is not a fool who will exert without benefit for the body or the mind.

Double benefit
Accordingly, the law of giving to others is necessary for all people in the world […] as it is beneficial for both the body and the soul according to the Wisdom of Kabbalah.

A vague complex that must be resolved one at a time The main problem is that here there is a […] complicated made of several interwoven doubts: First: Even when not taking into account the validity, the question remains whether it is actually beneficial. Second: Even if it is beneficial, is it feasible? Third: Who are the people to be qualified for training the generation to such a sublime matter? Fourth: Perhaps this operation will evoke the public’s contempt and mockery?

Knowledge comes in one of three ways: Empirical—physical observation (i.e., actual experiments); Historical—documentary or mathematical evidence […]. And the Wisdom of Kabbalah is demonstrated more than all three of these ways. There is also a fourth way to knowledge: Philosophical—either by way of deductions or inductions, meaning from the general to the particular, or from the particular to the general. This is strictly forbidden by the Wisdom of Kabbalah, since all that we do not attain, we do not know […].

Section One First, the scrutiny that now, too, we are giving and are not receiving both because we are not taking the surplus we produce to the grave, and second, because if a day’s exertion awards half a day’s pleasure, it is giving. And since by and large there is very little pleasure from the exertions people make, we are all only giving and not receiving. This is a mathematical calculation. Third, The clarification that we exert today due to the enslavement of society at least fourteen hours a day with pain and sorrow, since all our customs come from enslavement to the public.… The clarification that if we use the “governance of the earth,” we can hasten the “last [or: future] generation” in our generation, too. Fourth, this matter of competition out of uniqueness, in giving to others is not an abstract fantasy, as it is used in practical life, such as those who give away all their possessions to the public, or the most idealistic members of parties, who neglect and lose their lives for the public’s benefit, etc.

What is this like? It is like a wealthy man who had an old father whom he did not wish to support. He was tried and the verdict was that he would support him at least as respectfully as he supports his own kin, or he would face a harsh punishment. Naturally, he took him into his home and had to support him generously, but his heart was grieving. The old man said to him, “Since you are already giving me every delight that you have on your table, what would you lose if you also had a good intention, which is reasonable in the eyes of every sensible person, to be happy with having the opportunity to honor your father, who had spent all his energy for you and made you a respectable man? Why are you so stubborn that you afflict yourself? Can you rid yourself even slightly because of it?” So it is. At the end of the day, we give to society, and only society gains from our lives, since every person, great or small, adds and enriches the treasury of society. But the individual, when weighing the sorrow and pain that one receives, one is in great deficit. Hence, you are giving to your fellow person, but painfully and with great and bitter suffering. So why do you mind the good intention?

Section Two Each one of them fills his or her role in service of the public in the best way, albeit without seeing it, since public opinion presses a person even secretly, to the point where one feels that deceiving society by mistake is as grave as killing a human being by mistake. Each country is divided into societies where a certain number of people with sufficient means to provide for all their needs connect into a single society. Each society has a budget and work-hours according to the local conditions. Half of the budget is filled by mandatory hours, where each member commits to work a certain number of hours according to one’s strength, and the other half by voluntary hours.
A person who has faltered with self-gain, that person’s entire social status vanishes into the thin air of society as clouds in the wind, due to the profound antagonism that such a person receives from the entire nation.
For then each person
1) Each individual makes him or herself willingly available for the service of the public whenever one is needed.
2) Free competition for every individual, but in giving to others.
3) Disclosing any form of desire to receive for oneself is dishonorable and such a great flaw that such a person is regarded as being among the lowest, most inferior people in society.
4) Each person is medium.
1) They have many methodical books of wisdom and morals that prove the glory and sublimity of excellence in giving to others, to a point where the entire nation, from small to great, engage in them wholeheartedly.
2) Each person who is appointed to an important position must first graduate a special training in the above-mentioned teaching.
3) Their courts are busy primarily with awarding accolades marking the level of each person’s distinction in giving to others. There is not a person without a medal on the sleeve, and it is a great offence to call a person not by one’s title of honor. It is also a great offence for a person to forgive such an insult to one’s title.
4) There is such fierce competition in the field of giving to others that most people risk their lives, since public opinion tremendously appreciates and respects the accolades of the highest rank in giving to others.
5) If a person is recognized as having done for oneself a little more than what was decided for him by society, society condemns it so much that it becomes a disgrace to speak with him, and he also severely blemishes his family name. The only remedy for this is to ask for the court’s help, which has certain ways by which to help such miserable people who have lost their position in society. But for the most part, they relocate him because of prejudice, since public opinion cannot be changed.
6) There is no such word as “punishment” in the laws of the court, for according to their rules, the guilty ones are always the ones who gain the most. Thus, if one is guilty of not giving all his work hours, then his time is either reduced or made easier, or the way he provides it is made easier for him. Sometimes he is given time to spend at school, to teach him the great merit of “giving to others.” It all depends on the view of the judges.
1) The state is divided into societies. A certain number of people, who can fully provide for themselves, may separate themselves and maintain a special society.
2) That society has a quota of work hours according to the conditions in which they live, meaning according to the local conditions and the preferences of the members.

This quota is filled by mandatory hours and voluntary hours. For the most part, voluntary hours are approximately half of the mandatory hours. The work hours come from four types and are divided into works according to strength: The first type is the weak; the second type is the medium; the third type is the strong; and the fourth type is the quick. For the work of one hour of type one, type two works two hours, type three four hours, and type four six hours. Each person is trusted with finding their appropriate type of work which suits his strength.

Section Three
1) Introduction: Humanity’s progress is a direct result of religion.
2) The process of religion in circles comes when at a low point comes the destruction of humanism to the extent of the ruin of religiousness. For this reason, they accept religion against their will, the upward movement begins anew, and a new circle is formed.
3) The size of the circle corresponds to the genuineness of the religion that is regarded as the “basis” at the time of the ascent.

Plan A
Just as we expect actors in the theatre to do their best to make our imagination think that their acting is real, we expect our interpreters of religion to be able to touch our hearts so deeply that we perceive the faith of religion as actual reality. The shackles of religion are not heavy for those who do not believe, since the demand in mitsvot between man and man is accepted anyhow, and between man and God, a few mitsvot observed in public—such as those at one’s disposal—are enough [see Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag, A Single Mitsvah].

Plan B
הַטֶבַע (Ha-teva), Nature, is numerically equivalent to אֱלֹהִים (Elohim), God [and this serves as a mnemonic, see Rabbi Avraham Abulafia, Get ha-Shemot, 101b (MS Oxford, 1682); Rabbi Ḥayyim Luzzatto, Da’at ha-Tevunot]. Therefore, everything that Nature mandates… [is] the word of the Creator. The benefit of society is the reward and the damage to society is the punishment. Accordingly, there is no point turning God into Nature, meaning […] a blind Creator who does not see or understand the work of His hands. We are better off, and it makes sense to every healthy person, that He sees and knows everything, for He punishes and rewards, since everyone sees that Nature punishes and rewards. And Hitler will prove it.

Plan C
All of the anticipated reward from the Creator, and the purpose of the entire creation, is cleaving to the Creator, like a tower filled abundantly, but no guests [see Bereshit Rabbah 8:6]. This is what they who cleave to Him in love receive. Naturally, first, one emerges from imprisonment, which is emerging from the skin of one’s body by giving others. Subsequently, one comes to the king’s palace, which is cleaving to Him through the intention to satisfy the Creator. Naturally, first one emerges from imprisonment, which is emerging from under their own skin by giving to others. Therefore, the bulk of mitsvot are between man and man. One who gives preference to the mitsvot between man and the Creator is as one who climbs to the second degree before he has climbed to the first. Clearly, he will break his legs.

Faith among the masses
It is said, “The voice of the people is the voice of God” (vox populi, vox Dei). Indeed, this means that according to reality, they have chosen the least of all evils, and to that extent they always follow the good path. However, of course we must change reality so they can accept the utterly complete path. And it is true that the power of keeping in the masses in general chooses for them a way according to the situation. For this reason, once they have corrupted the interpretation of Torah and mitsvot, they have become rebellious. However, it is a sacred duty to find a true interpretation in society, and then it will be to the contrary: The power of keeping in the masses will coerce the keeping of Torah and mitsvot.

[…] public of the first degree
To prepare the way he tried (its reason)
1) Nazism: egoism; the international: altruism
2) It is possible to destabilize the Nazis only through a religion of altruism.
3) Only the workers are ready for this religion, as it is a revolution in religious perception.
4) This religious perception has three roles:
a) To undermine the Nazis.
b) To qualify the masses to assume collective governance so they do not fail as the Russians have (this follows the term: The progress of humanity comes only through religion). It is so because the more the worker needs reward for the work, the regime cannot survive, as Marx said.
c) To take religion from the possessors and turn it into an instrument in the hands of the workers.
e) First, it will be accepted by the workers, and through them by the whole of Israel, and the same goes for the international of all the nations, and through them to all the classes among the nations.
f) Revolution in religious perception means that instead of the monks being thus far the destructors of the world, when they assume altruism, the monks will be the builders of the world, since the measure of anxiety can be measured only by the measure of help to society, in order to satisfy his Maker.
g) This concept is clarified over nearly two thousand pages that explain all the secrets of Torah that the human eye cannot see. It will make every person believe in its truthfulness, as they will see that they are the words of the LORD, for secrets of a glorious wisdom attributed to prophecy testifies to their truthfulness.
h) The distributor of religion must be capable of Plan A, to bring as much faith as possible to the people.
In addition, he must bring total sufficiency to the mineral, vegetable, animal, and human [lit., speaking]. Without it, religion is unsustainable. It is as Maimonides said, that it is like a line of blind people headed by one person who sees [see Guide of the Perplexed]. That is, the human must stand at the front of the line in every place and in every generation. Hence, any religion that does not guarantee to inspire one man out of a thousand to become human [lit., speaking], that religion is unsustainable.
i) Spreading the religion of love is done by Torah and prayer that can intensify one’s quality of giving to others. At that time, the Torah and prayer are like he who sharpens his knife, so it can cut and finish his work quickly. Conversely, he who works with a blunt knife believes it is better to not waste time sharpening the knife, and he is misled because his work becomes much longer (it is also clear with the regard to the term that there is no progress for humanity unless through religion).
j) (belongs to item 9) The fourth role is in favor of Zionism, for during the truce, when fates of countries are decided, we will not have those enemies from among the conservatives who think we have no religion, as we learn from Weizmann’s words, and the mediators are bound to be from among those conservatives.

Do not destroy
The frivolous have already grasped that it is possible to be built, but only on the ruin of one’s fellow. This method is what roasts humanity on a fire to this day, since before one finds a vulnerable place in his fellow, he cannot even conceive of building anything. But the minute he finds a weakness in his fellow’s way, he seizes there with his claws and venom until he destroys him entirely, and there he builds his palace of wisdom. Thus, all the palaces of science are built in a place of ruin. And for this reason, every researcher is interested only in destroying, and the more one destroys, the more one is famous and praised. Indeed, this is the way that science develops, and it cannot be denied [cf. Rabbi Pinḥas Horowitz, Sefer ha-Berit, “All the scholars of this last generation arose and contradicted the opinion of recent scholars, since it is their foolish way that one builds while the other demolishes; one dreams while the other solves”]. However, what is this like? It is similar to the struggle that ruled with its terrible destructions for eons before the land had formed over the sea. This, too, was certainly a kind of development. And yet, there is no reason to envy those people who witnessed those upheavals. Rather, we should be more envious of those who came to the world after the making of the peace, after the materials that struggled made peace, and each found its resting place on earth as it is today. And although the struggle continues until today, it is nonetheless a minor struggle, and there are no upheavals in which each one destroys its predecessor who has become entirely exhausted. Rather, they have already understood that it is forbidden to destroy, since “Because you drowned others, they drowned you, and those who drowned you will themselves eventually be drowned” (M Avot 2:6) [cf. BT Megillah 31b]. Rather, the struggle is more about weakening and restricting, while preserving the life of the weak and avoiding its destruction, for he knows full well that the tide will later turn “and those who drowned you will themselves eventually be drowned.” It is similar to a war that the fighters will keep fighting, which is also for the same reason.

Now, if we really do learn from practical history, we must not overlook the aforementioned principle, and we must take reality into consideration, as in a status quo, and punish one who murders a view just as we punish one who murders a somebody. It is so because a mind without a view is not in the type of emotion of pity, for they are more numerous than all the dunghills and the lakes, and all the air, and because of it they are given to Providence, and we have no tactics by which to assist them. For this reason, we should presume that the land before us is vast, and there is room for all the views to dwell in it, the good as well as the bad. Indeed, one who kills and destroys a bad view is like one who destroys a corrected view, as there is no such thing as an “evil view” in the world. Rather, an unripe view is bad. Therefore, we should judge it as one who kills a bad person, where “the voice of the blood of his descendants, and his descendants’ descendants, we are redeemed from the evildoer. Likewise, a bad view is a seed that is still unripe for eating, but that will eventually grow and develop. We should search for a new place for the palace of wisdom that we want to build, a place vacant of others’ buildings, meaning without hurting any existing method. The mind is deep and broad, and the words of the wise are heard with pleasure, and the method of the abusive and of the abused is regarded by everyone to be bad. Hence, this alone should be uprooted because it is obsolete and loathsome, according to everyone. At the same time, we should keep all the manners of life in status quo, and maintain the freedom of the individual, since they are not required for our new building because in the end, it is merely an economic structure. It is similar to a merchant who wanted to open his own grocery store but feared the competition, so he burned all the stores in town along with the gold, jewels, gemstones, and clothes. He is too foolish because he will not grow any richer by burning the jewelry stores. Rather, grocery stores only would have been enough for his ruin, and let the keepers keep, and they who vacation, let them vacation. At most, one should establish a law that all who keep must add work so as to pacify the examiners.

I know what Marx wrote, that once the sufferings and wounds of the body have been bandaged we will begin, and we will have a suitable place for studying ideals. Besides, arguing that this is fundamentally untrue, since we know from experience that a tortured and afflicted body finds knowledge and truth better than a satiated body that knows no lack. But even if we leave his words be, we should still say, “Do not destroy.” In the very least, it is similar to a person chopping fruit trees because he wants to examine them so they will grow more fruitful. It is foolishness, for if he chops them off they will die and there will be no one picking fruits. It is likewise in views, which have come to us by inheritance from our fathers over hundreds of generations of development. He chops them off, dries them up, and ruins them, promising us that later, when he is at rest, he will examine them and will improve them, if possible. It is complete folly. He assumes that religion harms the commune (but how can he be certain of this assumption? After all, it is a view that is spreading among people of positivity and negativity, and many are the supporters). He can only dispute the form of understanding that the abusers use to their own benefit. Therefore, we should fight for the understanding, so it does not harm, but sentence it a death sentence. And yet, his whole theory is built only on religious hatred, similar to structures of contemporary scholars concerning hatred of religion, without any motive of economic damage. For this reason, we have permission to demand of the real sages, whose intention is only the economic side, to remove this item from their books. Only then will they have hope of winning a lasting victory that does not slip on its own vomit. In a word, there is no joy without calamity, no good without bad. Even the wisest person cannot be saved from a range of errors, and this is the weaker side in him, which leaves room for those who come to dispute him and finish him off. This is the weak side of Marxism, and it is why the occupation is difficult for them, and hundred fold so the right to exist.
Therefore, if you are true to your method and desire its persistence, hurry up and erase the aforementioned item from your laws, and then your road will be safely paved.

Has Marx’s prophecy come true?
On the one hand, his prophecy can be regarded as having been fully realized. The powerful have been sitting for a while on the fear of impending doom, on wondrous arms [such as atomic and nuclear bombs] that have been amassed, and of which there is not a shred of hope to be rid of, or to balance. Also, economists see doom in their eyes, and any chance for salvation has been snuffed out from reality. The hungry multitudes are proliferating terribly each day; the working class has nearly overripened, and so on and so forth.

Why were they cast to the Right?
On the other hand, we find the opposite. Fascism is growing daily, first Italy, now Germany, tomorrow Poland, and America is also on the verge, and so forth. It must be that that prophet had missed a point, which caused his grave error.

Buried in his own theory
But he is buried in his own theory, for he has added redundancies in the theory of participation, and these are the hard seeds that history cannot process whatsoever (i.e., religion and nationalism), and they were pushed to the Right.

Faulty policy
The guard need not sit and guard the surpluses that do not concern him, nor need the searcher of freedom pursue freedom for luxuries of the body, nor need the collaborator destroy the views that do not contradict his socialism. All of these three methods are real and are equally respected by their proponents. If the forces let one sect destroy another for a time, it is an incarnation, and in the end, there must be laws that limit the types of arms, so one will not destroy the other to a greater extent. It is circle, and one does not know what one’s tomorrow will bring. Therefore, before the day of struggle comes, there is time for the mind to protect from a complete ruin of one of the sides. The current power is not to be relied upon, but rather the certain future.

Considering the truth between the methods, I define this word according to the law of evolution, since each view and each method prepares and makes way for a better method. And as long as it is not made, it must be kept and persisted, since by destroying it you destroy the view and the method whose role is to yield its fruition. Marx himself had pointed it out […] because he says that from the great bourgeoisie emerges the working class. Therefore, you see that if there had been a redeemer for the working class at the time, to destroy the great bourgeoisie, he would certainly demolish the foundations of the commune at its root, for this firm law, “do not destroy,” is telling you—until the time comes on its own. In that regard, I disagree with him since he says that we must force the issue at any cost, while I say: except for the ruining of [disparate] views, which is not required whatsoever.

[Everything has a season,] and a time for every matter (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and the time of socialism has arrived. Woe for the fools who miss the hour and place before them completely redundant obstacles and boundaries, which are as smoke in their eyes. For this reason, before they turn one way or the other, the world will have already revolved and Relief and rescue will come [to the Jews] from elsewhere (Esther 4:14), and they along with their method will be lost for a long time. The war over the definition of nationality is completely redundant and is nothing like private property. There is no private property in the spiritual, only in the material. One who does not desire the development of wisdom does not know that “The jealousy of scribes increases wisdom” (BT Bava Batra 21a). Therefore, no one disputes it even among the extreme leftist Marxists. Rather, the war concerns only material property, for which envy yields nothing but fear and unnecessary misery. Hence, why should you fight spiritual property and nationality?

Let us assume that all the nations have reached economic parity, and have abolished private property to such an extent that the existence of abusers is unthinkable. Instead of the nations competing with one another for material assets, henceforth the competition will be over spiritual assets. That competition is bound to emerge in individuals, just as in the public. But here, no one speaks of it, even the most extreme, but would it be so? Therefore, our debate revolves solely around spiritual assets from the past. You say that we permit the acquisition of such assets in the future with all the desirable and fitting freedom, but the past you take out of your houses. Is this not sick and twisted? After all, what will be permitted in the future, why should we destroy the great bulk that has been ready from the past? It is like that famous Egyptian king who inherited a library of precious books the size of three streets, and he commanded they be burned because they are not necessary for the existence of religion or for fear of harm. And besides, no nation will obey your order to destroy all the belongings of its past. They will fight over it with devotion (but you are absolutely permitted because you have no need for it whatsoever). Indeed, even if a spirit of madness takes over the land to obey them to do this, they must spare this giant structure of several generations being lost for no reason at all.

Thus, you must leave the “You have chosen us” of each nation in tact, to the extent that they want it. Only the material basis of each nation should be abolished, since that basis has now reached its term, and it is in crisis by itself. For this reason, it might take correction from whichever hand reaches out to it. However, along with it we must give full and complete confidence to each and every nation that their spiritual assets will be kept in full. We cannot argue about statements that oppose socialism as we do with religion, since both legislators and religious authorities admit that “renunciation of a court is renunciation, and the law of the land is the binding law.” For this reason, all those laws that fundamentally oppose the socialism will remain as obsolete history, for now, too, there is already a large majority concealed and unused. Before us are three forces in reality, fighting one another. And although it contradicts the view of Marxists, who take into account only two forces into consideration—abusers and abused—it is an abstract theory that has no more merit than all its preceding theories. However, according to the basis of Marxism itself, we should take into account only what is practical, not endless theories. This is why I have chosen to detect three forces as though they were set before our eyes in reality.

New class division: quick and idle
Let us assume that one nation is idle, and another nation is naturally more nimble. And what one does in two hours, the other does in an hour. Naturally, there will be complaints: One will say that all the nations should work the same number of hours, and the other will say that what counts is the amount they produce. And as it is with those who argue, each will insist. What is the foundation by which the court will decide? If it is according to the principle, “give as much as you can and receive as much as you need,” it still does not necessitate an equal amount of time. And if we judge the nations according to the amount of work, then individuals, too, have a similar argument, and the industrious will work half as much as the weak. Thus, you have prepared for yourself a new class of quick, and a class of idle. You could say that there is power in the idle majority to force the quick minority in the nation, but there is certainly no such power between the nations. Thus, you will create classes among the nations, and abusers and abused among individuals.

The arrival of the redeemer
This is not new, for the founders themselves knew it, as he says […] that in the beginning they will see how this is possible through compromise, and will finally come to true ideals, to the highest degree of socialism, where each gives as much as he can, then takes only as much as he needs, meaning the same as the idle. This can be done only by the arrival of the redeemer, when the earth is full of knowledge. Then the giver will understand that he is serving his God, giving satisfaction to his Maker.

The idealistic instincts have already struck numerous roots in the human race. They have also come and become antiquated and have gained a foothold in a place where no one can reach, namely the subconscious in the elongated brain, which moves man’s nerves by itself, without the person’s awareness. This is why they have experimented in Russia, as it is known that they did not do a thing in all their wars. These warriors should know that the human heart will give them anything if they only leave it with its own ideals, which have come to it by inheritance from past generations in one’s subconscious. If they insist on destroying this legacy, too, they themselves will suffer the consequences, for the heat and the sulfur is accumulating bit by bit until it is filled to the brim and begins to explode. And besides all that, a new generation is growing, who know not Joseph (Exodus 1:8) [see BT Sotah 11a]. They do not understand the need and necessity to abandon private property from their flesh and blood whatsoever, but only according to a dry theory. For this reason, the devotion to private property that is buried deep in their subconscious from past generations, after all the learning, one fine day they will establish camps of young people from all sides, and they themselves will put the elderly to death with all their property and wisdom. It is so because an ideology does not come to a person from the intellect, but only from life’s experiences, out of affection and a combination of good and bad, like automated machines. The mind has no control over the body, as it is completely foreign to us. Hence, those young socialists who have acquired knowledge through their own wit cannot be trusted whatsoever, and they will pop like a soap bubble.

One last word of policy
At that time, three forces will sit on the throne in the councils—right, left, and middle. They will argue and strife with one another: the right opposing the liberty in the left, and the left opposing the reactionism of the right, and the neutral will give room to both, and the majority will solve and determine. Indeed, in one, they have already come to a solution, namely sharing all necessary and positive needs of life, meaning equal sharing of all the needs of the economy: one land to all who are living on it, and one division in its material pleasures. All the trials and arguments they will load on the suffering of spiritual predicates, along with the three degrees—envy, lust, and honor—they will turn and restrict themselves only to the spiritual boundaries.

This version will indeed be the final word on policy because it will forever remain an inexorable law. This is so since according to the development of the human species, so will views separate and intensify, and each one will be far more stubborn than it is currently regarding its fortune. There is no hope to come out from this strait unless people start to regress into fools—being emptied of all reason. Hence, there will be almost as many parties as there are people, and there is no solution to it other than the fixed law, “follow the majority.” At that time people will make among them various compromises until they gather into groups. And in the groups, there will be competition with the oppositions until the opposition itself will separate. Thus, the big groups will split into small ones, and the small ones into tiny ones, as well as trade among themselves, as is customary nowadays. However, this negotiation must acquire a more acrid form each time, precisely according to the measure of development of views without compromise forever, for so it should be forever. However, in one—in private property—they have already arrived at an agreed upon solution: Each will give as much as a successful one can give, and receive as much as an unsuccessful one, without adding even as much as a hairsbreadth. And the work hours will be equal to all, by order. And besides the obligation, there will be additional time to the veterans, who will give compared to the weak, to completely exempt them and not afflict them. This is similar to today’s charity. Also, in each city and community, the weak will be distributed equally. And if there are many volunteers in the community, then all the weak will be exempted. If there are few, then only some of them, the weakest, will be exempted. One who breaks these rules will be punished either by giving his portion, or by criminal punishment.

The anterior of an idea
The truthfulness of the spirit of pleasure of one who expresses it is evident. I have become a c[…] although […] many years prior, while I did not pay attention until I saw them speaking and arguing. Then I recognized the truth as it is. It is a law that one who is completely untroubled will not be satisfied by material possessions. Even when engaged in an ideal, one must feel pleasure during the engagement. The measure of spirit and delight that one feels depends on the truthfulness of the ideal with which he is engaged. Thus, we have found for truth an anterior face by which to know it, meaning by merely looking at the person who expresses it, whether he is enjoying or not. And the amount of pleasure is the amount of truth. This is what has brought me to believe in this idea, for until then I have never seen anyone to express any idea with such contentment and delight as they.

The absolute truth
If there are no absolute truths, but temporary ones, then I say that each truth in itself is the absolute truth for its time. It is just since it cannot be said about some reality that is about to die that it is regarded as dead, since while it is alive, it is an absolute reality. Everything is operated either voluntarily or by coercion, and the mind does not force. Therefore, we have a question: Who will move the socialist when he acts? What source will spur his desire to move, or by what force will coercion come upon him? It is so because at that time, movement will become to him a kind of private property, and every person is meticulous about his energy, to not disperse it uselessly even more than for his fortune. And if the socialism is not because he is deficient, due to saving of energy, then he will certainly not squander the energy in vain. Thus, from where will justice or compassion come?

Hastening its ripening through religion
The socialist ideal requires ripening in one’s heart for at least three entire generations, and peace and general agreement [cf. Zohar 3:14a–b: “It is difficult to remove filth from (the nations), even up to three generations. Therefore we have learned: ‘The best among the Gentiles…’ (MekhiltaBeshallaḥ 1)”]. Therefore, the world will undergo many more attempts and cycles before it comes to fruition, but there is no easier way to ripen the idea than through religion.

The Active Intellect by Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag (Ba’al ha-Sullam)

Ba'al ha-Sullam PortraitIt is written, “Every man is obligated to grasp the root of his soul.” Meaning the ultimate desire and hope of those created is דְבֵקוּת (devequt), cleaving, to His qualities, may His great Name be exalted: “[Abba Shaul said:] Just as He is [gracious and] compassionate, so you [be gracious and compassionate]” (BT Shabbat 133b). And His qualities are the holy sefirot as is known, and this is the mystery of שֶׂכֶל הַפּוֹעֵל (sekhel ha-poel), the Active Intellect, that guides His world and gauges His effluence and goodness for them, blessed be He.

But we must understand why this is called, “cleaving to the Creator,” for behold: seemingly this is merely לִמּוּד (limmud), study. I shall explain by way of parable: Within any action in the world, the actor’s intellect inheres in that action. Just as in a table one can grasp a facet of the intellect of the carpenter, his dexterity and the deftness in his craft, whether great or small, since in the course of his work he assessed it in terms of the qualities of his intellect. And he who looks at the result, apprehending the intellect that is “buried” there, cleaves to that very intellect which acted upon it—they literally unite—because there is no distance or separation between הַרוּחָנִיּם (ha-ruḥanim), what is immaterial, even with separate bodies; the intellect inhering there cannot be separated, for what knife can cut the immaterial off? Rather, the essential difference between immaterial things [or: spiritual matters] lies in their qualities, praiseworthy or blameworthy, but also in diversity. For the intellect reckoning astrology will not cleave to the natural sciences. And even in science itself great diversity is discovered. Since one [branch] rises over another even in a single [field of] science, and only through this does the immaterial separate. But when two sages contemplate a single science and bear the same stature of intellect, then they are united, literally, for what separates them?

So when one is found contemplating another’s action, grasping the intellect of the sage who performed it, both are gauged by one power and intellect. Now they are actually united, like a man who bumps into his beloved friend in the market: he embraces him and kisses him, and it is impossible to severe the bond between them. Hence, the general principal is that on the human [rung of existence], the power of the intellect is best suited to mediate between the Creator and His creatures. That is, He emanated a single spark from this [mediating] power. Through that spark, all returns to Him.

[How many are Your works, O YHWH!] All of them You made in wisdom; [the earth is filled with Your creatures] (Psalms 104:24)He created the whole world in His wisdom. Hence, he who is rewarded with attaining the אוֹפַנִּים (ofannim), circuits, by which He created the world and its order, behold: he cleaves to the Intellect that acts upon them, he cleaves to the Creator. And this is the mystery of “The Torah is all names of the blessed Holy One,” which belong to the creatures. And through their merit, the creatures grasp the Intellect that acts upon all, since the Creator gazed upon the Torah when He created the world, as is known [see Zohar 2:161b]. He who attains enlightenment by way of Creation forever cleaves to that Intellect. Thus, he cleaves to the Creator, blessed be He.

In this sense the blessed Holy One has shown us His artisan’s tool—[however] must we create worlds? Yet from what has been said here, [we understand] the Creator has shown us His order that we may know how to cleave to Him, which is cleaving to His qualities.

The Nature of the Wisdom of Kabbalah by Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag (Ba’al ha-Sullam)

Ba'al ha-Sullam PortraitBefore I start to elucidate the history of the wisdom of Kabbalah, discussed by many, I find it necessary to begin with a thorough clarification of the nature of this wisdom, which I believe so few know. And of course, it is impossible to speak of the history of something before we know the thing itself. Although this knowledge is wider and deeper than the ocean, I will make the greatest effort, with all the strength and knowledge I have acquired, to clarify and illuminate it from all perspectives, enough for any soul to draw the right conclusions, as they truly are, leaving no room for fools to mislead themselves, as is often the case in such matters.

What does the Wisdom revolve around?

This question arises for any intelligent person. To answer it properly I will give a reliable and lasting definition: This wisdom is no more and no less than a sequence of roots, hanging down by way of cause and effect, according to absolute laws, entwining towards a single sublime purpose: The revelation of His divinity to His creatures in this world. And here there is general and particular:

General—the whole of humanity, obligated to come to this great undertaking in the end, as is written, [They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain:] for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of YHWH, as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9); And they shall teach no more every man his fellow, and every man his brother, saying, Know YHWH: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, [says YHWH: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their offence no more] (Jeremiah 31:33); Yet shall your Teacher not be moved into a corner any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher (Isaiah 30:20).

Particular—even before the perfection of the whole of humanity, this matter is fulfilled in a chosen few individuals in each and every generation. These are the ones who are endowed, in each generation, with certain degrees of revelation of His divinity, blessed be He. And these are the prophets and men of the Name.

And as our Sages said, “There is no generation which does not contain men like Abraham… and Jacob, [Moses, and Samuel]” (Bereshit Rabbah 56:7). Thus you see that the revelation of His divinity is brought about in each generation, as our Sages, whom we find trustworthy, say.

The multiplicity of פַּרצוּפִים (partsufim), configurations, סְפִירוֹת (sefirot), and עוֹלָמוֹת (olamot)worlds

However, according to the above, a question arises. Since this wisdom has but one, unique, clear purpose, why is there a multiplicity of partsufim, sefirot, and interchangeable connections, which are so abundant in books of Kabbalah? Indeed, if you take the body of a small animal, whose only task is to nourish itself so that it exist in this world long enough to father and propagate its species, you will find in it a complex structure of millions of fibers and tendons, as physiologists and anatomists have discovered. And there is much there that humans have yet to discover. From here you may draw the analogy of a vast array of networks [lit., chariots and channels] that must connect in order to actualize that sublime purpose.

Two conducts—from above downwards and from below upwards

This wisdom is generally divided into two parallel, identical sequences, like two drops in a pond. The only difference between them is that the first sequence emanates from above downwards, to this world, and the second sequence travels from below upwards, precisely by the same ways and chariots fixed at the root when they appear from above downwards. The first is called “the descending sequence of the olamot, partsufim, and sefirot,” in all their manifestations, whether enduring or transient. The second is called “attainments, or degrees, of prophecy and רוּחַ הַקוֹדֶשׁ (ruaḥ ha-qodesh), the Holy Spirit.” One rewarded with this must follow the same paths and ways, attaining each degree one by one, precisely by the same laws fixed in them upon their emanation from above downwards. A revelation of divinity does not appear immediately, but gradually, over a period of time, depending on the cleansing of the attainment, until one discovers all the degrees from above downwards. And because they come one after the other, and one above the other like rungs of a ladder, they are called מַדְרֵגוֹת (madregot), “rungs.”

Abstract names

Many believe that all the words and the names in the wisdom of Kabbalah are abstractions. This is so because it engages with what is divine and spiritual, which is above time and space, where even our imagination has no power. For this reason they conclude that surely, these matters speak only of abstractions, even more sublime and exalted than abstractions, as from the outset they are totally devoid of imaginings. But this is not the case. On the contrary, Kabbalah uses only names and epithets that are concrete and real. It is an unbending rule for all the kabbalists that, “All that we do not attain, we do not define by name or word” [cf. Rabbi Azriel of Gerona, Commentary on the Ten Sefirot, in Rabbi Me’ir ibn Gabbai, Derekh Emunah, 2b–c: “Ein Sof cannot be conceived, certainly not expressed, though it is intimated in every thing, for there is nothing outside of it. No letter, no name, no writing, no thing can confine it”]. Here you must know that הַשָׂגָה (hasagah), “attainment,” implies grasping the final rung. Derived from the expression, “within תַּשִּׂיג (tassig), reach.” That is before something becomes absolutely apparent to the eyes, as though held in the hands, the kabbalists do not consider it attained, but only “understood,” and so forth.

The concreteness of the wisdom of Kabbalah

There are things, even in the material reality set before our eyes, whose essence we have no perception of. Such as electricity or magnetism, [formerly] called “fluidum.” Nevertheless, who can say that these terms are not true, when we know their function vividly? We could not be more indifferent to the fact that we have no appreciation of the essence of the thing itself, as with electricity.

This name, “electricity,” is as tangible for us as though it were entirely perceived by our senses. Even little children are familiar with the word, as well as they are familiar with words like “bread,” “sugar,” and so on. Moreover, if you wish to exercise your tools of perception a little, I will tell you that in general, as there is no perception of the Creator whatsoever, so too it impossible to apprehend the essence of any of His creations, even things we can touch with our hands.

Thus, all we know of our companions and those close to us in the world of actualization before us is nothing more than acquaintance with their activity, stirring our senses, which render us complete satisfaction although we have no perception whatsoever of the essence of the thing. Furthermore, you have no perception or attainment whatsoever even of yourself. All you know of yourself is nothing more than the activity emanating from your essence.

Now we can easily see that all the names and epithets that appear in books of Kabbalah are indeed concrete, even though we have no attainment in the matter at all. This is because those who engage in it are satisfied with their sense of its ultimate perfection, meaning only an awareness engendered by the encounter of the supernal light and those who attain it. Yet, this is quite sufficient, for this is the rule: “All that is reckoned and emerges from His providence, blessed be He, so as to be actualized in Creation, is completely satisfactory.” Similarly, one cannot hope for a sixth finger on one hand, because five fingers are quite sufficient.

The value of concrete language in the books of Kabbalah

Any reasonable person will understand that when dealing with spiritual matters, much less with the divine, we have no words or letters with which to contemplate. This is because our entire vocabulary is but combinations of letters of our senses and imagination. Yet, how can they be of assistance where there is neither imagination nor senses? Even if we take the subtlest thing we can in such matters, namely “supernal light,” or even “simple light,” it is still imaginary and borrowed from the “light of the sun,” “candlelight,” or the “light of satisfaction” one feels upon resolving some great doubt. Yet, how can we use these in spiritual matters or divine ways? They [seem to] offer nothing more than falsehood and deceit. Especially where one needs to find some rationale in these words to help him negotiate the research of this wisdom. Here the sage must employ rigorously accurate concrete definitions for those who seek.

Should the sage fail with a single word, he is certain to confuse and lead astray. One will not understand what he is saying at all, neither before or after, nor anything connected to that word, as is known to anyone who examines books of wisdom. Thus, one should wonder how is it possible for the kabbalists to use false words to explain the interconnections in this wisdom? Also, it is known that there is no definition by means of a false name, for “a lie has no legs” (BT Shabbat 104a), and no stance. Indeed, here one must have prior knowledge of the law of root and branch by which the worlds link to one another.

The law of root and branch by which the worlds are linked

The kabbalists have discovered that the form of the four worlds, namely אֲצִילוּת (atsilut), Emanation, בְּרִיאָה (beri’ah), Creation, יְצִירָה (yetsirah), Formation, and עֲשִׂיָּה (asiyyah), Actualization, beginning with the first and highest world, Atsilut, and ending in this material, tangible world, Asiyyah, is exactly the same in any particular instance. This means that all that occurs in the first world is found unchanged in the next world below it as well. So too in all the worlds that follow, down to this tangible world. There is no difference between them, only a difference of rung, perceived in the substance of each world. The substance of the elements of reality in the first supernal world, is more refined than in all the ones below it. And the substance in the second world is more coarse than in that of the first world, yet more pure than all of a lower rung.

Similarly, this continues down to this world before us, whose substance of the elements in reality is coarser and darker than in all the worlds preceding it. However, the forms and elements of reality and all their phenomenon come unchanged and equal in every world, both in quantity and quality. They compared it to the impress of a seal: all of the seal’s contours and intricate details are perfectly transferred to the impression. So too with the worlds, in which each lower world is a replica of the world above it. Hence, all the contours of the higher world are meticulously copied, in both quantity and quality, in the lower world [see BT Sanhedrin 37a; Tiqqunei ha-Zohar 3b].

Hence, there is no element of reality, nor a single phenomenon in a lower world, for which you will not find the likeness of in the world above it, as identical as two drops in a pond. And they are called שׁוֹרֶשׁ (shoresh), root, and עָנָף (anaf), branch. Which is to say, any detail in the lower world is deemed the branch of its model, the root, in the higher world.

That was the intention of our Sages when they said, “You cannot find a single blade of grass below that does not have a מַזָּל (mazzal), constellation [or: flux], in the sky, striking it and telling it: ‘Grow!’” (Bereshit Rabbah 10:6) [cf. ZḤ 57a]. It follows that the root, called mazzal compels it to grow and assume its quality and quantity, as with the impress of a seal. This is the law of root and branch, which pertains to every detail and phenomenon in reality—in each and every world, and in relation to the world above it.

The language of the kabbalists is a language of branches

This means that the branches point to their roots, being their דוּגמָאוֹת (doogma’ot), models, that necessarily exist in the upper world. This is because there is nothing in the reality of the lower world that is not drawn down from its upper world. As with the impress of a seal, the root in the upper world compels its branch in the lower world to reveal its entire form and content, as our Sages said, that the mazzal in the world above, corresponding to the “grass” in the world below, strikes it, forcing it to acheive its full growth. Because of this, each and every branch in this world defines its model fixed in the higher world very well.

Thus, the kabbalists have found a lexicon sufficient for an excellent spoken language. It allows them to converse with one another on the phenomena of the spiritual roots in the supernal worlds by merely mentioning the lower, material branch in this world that is well defined for our senses. Those who hear understand the supernal root to which this material branch points because it correlates to it, being its impression. Thus, all that exists in this material creation and all its phenomena have for them become familiar words and names, indicating their supernal roots. Although there cannot be a verbal expression in their spiritual place, as they are above any imagination, they have earned the right to be expressed by their branches, arrayed before our senses here in the material world.

This is the nature of the spoken language among the kabbalists, by which they convey their spiritual attainments from person to person and from generation to generation, both by word of mouth and in writing. They fully understand one another, with all the requisite accuracy for negotiating the research of this wisdom, by precise definitions with which he cannot fail. This is so because each branch has its own natural, unique definition, and this absolute definition points to its root in the supernal world.

Bear in mind that this language of branches in the wisdom of Kabbalah is better suited to explain the terms of the wisdom than any of our conventional languages. It is known from the theory of Nominalism that the tongues have been corrupted in the mouths of the masses. Due to excessive use, words have been emptied of their content and there are great difficulties conveying precise inferences by word of mouth or in writing. This is not the case with Kabbalah’s Language of the Branches: it is derived from the names of the creatures and their phenomena, set before our eyes, and, as I said by the unalterable laws of Nature. Those who read or listen will never be led astray into misunderstanding the words presented to them, since these natural definitions are utterly unwavering and cannot be breached.

Conveyance from a wise kabbalist to an understanding disciple

Thus wrote Naḥmanides in the introduction to his Torah commentary: “And I bring with true covenant to all who scrutinize this book, that of all the hints that I write in the Secrets of Torah, I resolutely assert that my words will not be grasped by any mind or intellect, except from the mouth of a wise Kabbalist to the ear of an understanding recipient.” Likewise, Rav Ḥayyim Vital wrote in his introduction to Ets Ḥayyim, and also, in the words of our Sages: “The Account of the Chariot is not expounded to one, unless he is a sage and understands of his own knowledge” (BT Ḥagigah 11b).

Their words are thoroughly understood when they say that one must receive from a wise kabbalist. However, why the necessity for a disciple to first be wise and understanding with his own mind? Moreover, if he isn’t so, then he must not be taught, even if he is the most righteous person in the world. Additionally, if one is already wise and understands with his own mind, what need has he to learn from others?

From the aforementioned, their words are understood with utter simplicity: We have seen that all the words and utterances of our lips cannot help us convey even a single word of spiritual, divine matters, above imagined time and space. Instead, there is a special language for these matters, being the Language of the Branches, indicating their relation to their supernal roots.

However, this language, though very well suited for its task of delving into this wisdom, more than other languages, is only so if the listener is wise in his own right, meaning that he knows and understands the way the branches correspond to their roots. It is because these relations are not at all clear when looking from below upwards. In other words, it is impossible to find any deduction or semblance in the supernal roots by observing the lower branches.

Quite the contrary, the lower is studied from the upper. Thus, one must first attain the supernal roots, the way they are in spirituality, above any imagination, with pure attainment. And once he has thoroughly attained the supernal roots with his own mind, he may examine the tangible branches in this world and know how each branch corresponds to its root in the supernal world, with all its sequences, in quantity and quality.

When one knows and thoroughly understands all this, there is a common language between him and his master, namely the Language of the Branches. Using it, the kabbalist may convey studies in the wisdom, conducted in the upper, spiritual worlds, both the ones he has received from his masters, as well as his expansion of the wisdom, which he discovered on his own. This is because now they have a common language and they understand each other.

However, when a disciple is not wise and comprehends the language on his own, meaning how the branches point to their roots, naturally, the master cannot convey even a single word of this spiritual wisdom, much less negotiate with him in the scrutiny of the wisdom. This is so because they have no common language they can use, and they become like a mute. Thus, it is necessary that the wisdom of Kabbalah will not be taught unless he is wise and understands with his own mind.

We must ask further: How then, has the disciple grown so wise as to know the relations of branch and root by tracing the supernal roots? The answer is that here one’s efforts are in vain. It is divine assistance that we need. He fills those who capture His fondness with wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to acquire sublime attainment. Here it is impossible to be assisted by any flesh and blood. Indeed, once He grows fond of a man and has endowed him with sublime attainment, he is then ready to come and receive the vastness of the wisdom of Kabbalah from a wise kabbalist, for only now do they have a common language [cf. BT Berakhot 55a: “Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The blessed Holy One gives wisdom only to one who already has wisdom, as it says, In the heart of every wise-hearted man I have set wisdom (Exodus 31:6). Rav Taḥalifa from the West (i.e., Israel) heard and repeated it before Rabbi Abbahu. He said to him: You learn it from there, but we learn it from here: He gives wisdom to the wise (Daniel 2:21).” On blessing not appearing in an empty place, see Naḥmaindes on Exodus 25:24; Zohar 1:88a–b, 240a, 250a; 2:63b, 67a, 87b–88a, 154b–155a, 157b; 3:34a].

Epithets foreign to the human spirit

With all that is said above, you will understand why we sometimes find epithets and terms quite foreign to the human spirit in books of Kabbalah. They abound in the principal books of Kabbalah, which are the Zohar and the Tiqqunim, and the books of the Ari. It is indeed baffling why these Sages used such lowly epithets to express lofty, holy notions [for example: Zohar 3:97a–b, 152b, 255a–b (both RM)].

Yet, once you have acquired these notions you will understand fully. This is because it is now clear that no language in the world can be used to expound the wisdom, except one intended for just that purpose, namely the Language of the Branches, corresponding to their supernal roots. Thus, obviously, no branch or the appearance of a branch should be neglected because of its inferior rung, or not be used to express the desired idea in the network of the wisdom, since there is no other branch in our world to take its place.

As “two hairs do not suck from the same follicle” (BT Bava Batra 16a) so we do not have two branches that pertain to the same root. Hence, by neglecting any phenomenon, we forfeit the spiritual idea corresponding to it in the supernal world, since we do not have a single word to utter in its place, with which to indicate that particular root. In addition, such incidents impair the entire wisdom in all its vastness, since there is a missing link in the chain connected to that idea. This damages the entire wisdom, for there is no other wisdom in the world in which matters are so thoroughly interconnected by way of cause and effect as with the wisdom of Kabbalah—connected head to toe just like a long chain.

Therefore, even with a brief lapse in understanding, the entire wisdom darkens before our eyes, for all its parts are powerfully linked to each other, coalescing into one, literally. And from now on there is no wonder at the occasional use of strange epithets. They have no freedom of choice with epithets, to substitute the bad with the good, or the good with the bad. They must always use the branch or the phenomenon which points precisely to its supernal root with all the requisite measure. Moreover, they must broaden matters until they can be brought into focus for their fellow observers.

Peace by Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag (Ba’al ha-Sullam)

Ba'al ha-Sullam PortraitEmpirical research regarding the obligation to serve the blessed Holy One

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them (Isaiah 11:6).

… And it shall come to pass in that day, that YHWH shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, who shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea (ibid., 11).

“Rabbi Shim’on son of Ḥalafta said, ‘The blessed Holy One found no vessel to hold blessing for Israel but peace, as it says: May YHWH give strength to His people. May YHWH bless His people with peace (Psalms 29:11)” (M Uqtsin 3:12).

After having demonstrated in previous essays a general overview of His service, whose essence is but the love of others, defined in practice as “giving to others,” meaning that the actualization of love of others is rendering kindness to others—aiming to ensure that we will not forget the purpose.

Now that we know for certain the mode of His service, there still remains to inquire whether this service is acceptable to us on faith alone, without any empirical basis, or whether we also have an empirical basis for it. This is what I want to demonstrate in the essay before us. But first I must thoroughly demonstrate the subject itself, meaning who it is who accepts our service.

However, I am not a lover of formal philosophy, since I detest theoretically based studies. And it is well known that most of my contemporaries agree with me, for we have tested such foundations, which are shaky. When the foundation moves a little, the whole building comes tumbling down.

Therefore, I have come to speak only by critique of empirical reason, starting from the simple recognition no one objects to, proving analytically (separating out the various elements in a matter), until we come to determine the sublime. And it will be tested synthetically (the unity and connection between matters, such as הֶקֵשׁ [heqesh], analogy, and קַל וָחוֹמֶר [qal va-ḥomer, the exegetical principle of inference from] minor to major), how the blessed Holy One’s service is confirmed and reaffirmed by simple recognition from a practical perspective [cf. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason].

Contradictions in providence

Any reasonable person who examines the reality before us discovers in it two polar opposites. When we consider the order in Creation, with regard to its existence and endurance, our eyes behold striking evidence of guidance, profound wisdom, and great skill, in terms of both the emergence of particular aspects of reality and the ensuring of their existence in a general way.

Let us take the making of a human being as an example: the love and delight of its parents is the first incentive bound to perform its function. And when the foundational drop is taken from the father’s brain, providence has very wisely arranged a safe place for it, which prepares it to receive the רוּחַ חַיִּים (ruaḥ ḥayyim), breath of life. Providence allots it its daily bread in precise measure, and it also readies wonderful bedding for it in the mother’s womb so that no stranger can harm it.

It tends to its every need like a expert nanny who will not forget it even for a moment, until it has acquired the strength to emerge into our world. At that time, providence briefly lends it just enough strength to break the walls that surround it, and like a seasoned warrior it breaks an opening and emerges into the world.

Then, too, providence does not abandon it. Like a loving mother, it brings it to such caring, loyal people it can trust, called “mother” and “father” to assist it through its days of feebleness until it grows and is able to sustain itself. Like the human, so are all the animals, plants, and inanimate objects—all are cared for in wisdom and compassion, ensuring their existence and the propagation of the species.

But those who examine this reality from the perspective of provision and continued existence can plainly see tremendous confusion and chaos, as though there were no leader and no guidance. Every man did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25)—building himself on the ruin of others. The wicked thrive and the righteous are trampled mercilessly.

Bear in mind that this paradox, set before the eyes of every reasonable and educated person, has preoccupied humanity since time immemorial. And there are many approaches to account for these two apparent contradictions in providence, inhabiting the very same world.

First approach: Nature

This approach is an ancient one. Since they did not find an entry way to bring these two polar opposites closer, they came to assume that the Creator, who created all these, who mightily watches over His existence lest any of it be annulled, is not all knowing but rather foolish.

Hence, although He watches over the existence of reality with wondrous wisdom, yet He Himself is thoughtless, and does all that without purpose. If there was any reason and sensing in Him, He would certainly not leave such malfunctions in the provision of existence without pity and compassion for the tormented. For this reason, they named Him “Nature”—an unknowing, unfeeling overseer. And therefore, in their opinion there is no one to resent, pray to, or justify oneself to.

Second approach: two authorities

Others were more wise since they found it difficult to accept belief in Nature’s providence. They saw that providence is far beyond human wisdom. They could not accept that the One who supervises all would Himself be thoughtless—for how can one give that which he does not possess? And can one instruct his fellow while he himself is a fool?

How can it be the one who sets before us acts in wondrous wisdom does not know what He is doing, but rather does so by accident? It is evident that chance cannot order any precise act, devised in wisdom, much less ensure its perpetual existence.

This is why they came to the second opinion, that there are two authorities: one creates and sustains the good, and the other creates and sustains the bad. And along their way they greatly elaborated on this with evidence and proof.

Third approach: numerous gods

This approach was derived from the approach of two authorities, since they isolated each and every act from the all-encompassing act [of Creation], that is: Power, Wealth, Domination, Beauty, Famine, Death, Chaos, and so forth. They appointed each its own overseer, and expanded this as they wished.

Fourth approach: His abandonment 

With the increase in wisdom as of late they see the tremendous interconnection between all aspects of Creation, they realized the idea of multiple gods is totally impossible. Thus, under close examination the problem of paradox in Creation was felt once again.

This led them to a new opinion: that the Overseer is indeed wise and caring. Yet, due to His exaltedness, which is beyond conception, our world is but a mustard seed, nothing in His eyes. It is not worth His while to bother with our petty affairs, and this is why we are neglected and left to chaos, every man doing what was right in his own eyes.

Alongside these approaches, there were religious approaches of divine unity. But this is not the place to examine them, as I wanted only to examine the origins from which the flawed approaches and bewildering opinions that vastly dominated and expanded in different times and places were taken.

We find that the basis on which the aforementioned approaches were built, having emerged from the apparent paradox between the two types of providence perceived in our world, came only to bridge this great divide.

Yet, the world persists as always. And not only was that great divide not bridged it expands before our eyes into a daunting abyss, without hope of escape. And when I look at all the attempts man has made these several thousand years to no avail, from the perspective of the Overseer I wonder if we should seek to bridge this great divide at all, but rather accept that this great תִקּוּן (tiqqun), repair, is in our own hands.

The necessity to practice caution with the laws of Nature

We can all plainly see that the human species must lead a social life, meaning it cannot subsist without the help of others [cf. Aristotle, Politics: “Man is by nature a social animal”]. Therefore, picture a circumstance in which a man retires from society to a desolate place and lives there a life of misery and great suffering due to his inability to provide for his needs. That man would have no right to protest against his fate. And if he were to do that, that is complain and curse his bitter fate, he would merely be showing his own stupidity.

This is because while providence has prepared a comfortable, appealing place for him in society, he has no justification to remove himself to a desolate place. Such a man should not be pitied, since he is going against the nature of Creation; since he has counsel to live as providence has decreed, he should not be pitied. That decree is agreed upon by all of humanity without dissent.

And I emphasize it on a religious basis, giving it the form of law: since providence emanates from the Creator, who undoubtedly acts with purpose, and since there is no action without intention, we find that anyone who violates חוּקִי הַטֶבַע (ḥuqi ha-teva), the Laws of Nature, הַטבִּיעַ (hatbbi’a), embedded, in us, ruins the plan [of Creation].

Because that plan is undoubtedly built into all the Laws of Nature, none excluded, just as the wise laborer does not add or subtract even a hairsbreadth of the necessary effort to carry out his plan, he who alters even a single law ruins the Creator’s plan, and will therefore be punished by Nature. Hence, we, too, creatures of the blessed Holy One must not pity such a man because he violates the Laws of Nature and ruins the divine plan. That, in my opinion, is the form of the law.

And I think it isn’t worthwhile for anyone to disagree with the form I have given to the law, because the words of the law are one. For in the end what is the difference if we say that the Overseer is blind “Nature,” or that the Overseer is wise, wonderful, knowing, feeling, and whose acts have intention?

In the end, we all admit that we are obligated to keep the commandments of providence, meaning the Laws of Nature. And we all admit that one who violates the commandments of providence, meaning the Laws of Nature, must be punished by Nature, and should not be pitied by anyone. Look, the nature of the law is one in the same, and the only difference is in the motivation: in their opinion it is [merely] necessary, while for me it is by design.

To avoid having to use both expressions—טֶבַע (teva), Nature, and מַשְׁגִּיחַ (mashgiaḥ), Overseer, in which there is no difference, as I have shown with respect to following the laws—from now on it is best for us to meet halfway and accept the words of the kabbalists that הַטֶבַע (ha-teva), Nature, is numerically equivalent to אֱלֹהִים (Elohim), God—eighty-six [and this serves as a mnemonic, see for example Rabbi Avraham Abulafia, Get ha-Shemot, 101b; Rabbi Ḥayyim Luzzatto, Da’at ha-Tevunot]. Then, I am able to call חוּקִי אֱלֹהִים (ḥuqi Elohim), the Laws of God, מִצְווֹת הַטֶבַע‎ (mitsvot ha-teva), the commandments of Nature, and vice-versa, for they are one and the same, and we need not discuss it further [cf. Philo, A Treatise on the Life of Moses, 2:12–14; De Mundi Opificio, 3; Maimonides, Guide of the Perplexed, 2:40].

Now it is critically important for us to examine Nature’s commandments, to know what She demands of us, lest She punish us mercilessly. We have said that Nature obligates the human species to lead a social life, and this is simple. But we must examine the commandments that Nature obligates us to keep, with respect to the social life.

In general, we find that there are only two commandments to follow in society. These can be called קְבָּלָה (qabbalah), “receiving,” and הַשְׁפִּיעַ (hashpi’a), “giving.” This means that each fellow must, by nature, receive his needs from society and must benefit society through his work for its well-being. And if one violates one of these two commandments, he is punished mercilessly, as we said.

Now, we need not examine the commandment of receiving excessively, since the punishment is carried out immediately, preventing any neglect. But with the other commandment, that of giving to society, not only is the punishment not immediate, but it is administered indirectly. Therefore, this commandment is not kept properly.

Thus, humanity is scorched by the fire of a pot boiling over furiously, and war and famine and their consequences have so far not ceased. And the amazing thing about it is that Nature, like a skillful judge, punishes us according to our development. For we can see that to the same degree the human species develops, so too the torments and suffering involved in the acquisition of our provisions for our subsistence also proliferate.

Thus you have an empirical basis that His providence has commanded us to keep with all our might the commandment of giving to others in utter precision, in such a way that no fellow from among us would work any less than the measure required to secure the happiness of society and its success. And as long as we are idle in fulfilling this, Nature will not refrain from punishing and taking revenge against us.

And besides the blows we suffer today, we must also take into account the sword drawn for the future. Here the correct conclusion must be made—that Nature will ultimately triumph and we will all be forced to join hands in following Her commandments to the degree required of us.

Proof of His service by experience

But he who wishes to criticize my words might still ask, “Although so far you have proven that one must work to benefit people, where is the proof that it must be done for the blessed Holy One?”

Indeed, history itself has troubled in our favor and has prepared for us an established fact, sufficient for a full appreciation and unequivocal conclusion: anyone can see how a large society like the state of Russia, with hundreds of millions in population, more land than the whole of Europe, second to none in wealth of raw materials, and which has already agreed to lead a communal life and practically abolished private property altogether, where each worries only about the wellbeing of society, has seemingly acquired to the utmost degree the virtue of giving to others in the deepest sense, as far as the human mind can grasp.

And yet, go and see what has become of them. Instead of rising and exceeding the achievements of the bourgeois states, they sink ever lower. Now, they not only fail to benefit the lives of the workers a little more than in the bourgeois countries, they cannot even secure their daily bread or clothe their bare flesh. Indeed, this is shocking to us, because judging by the wealth of that country and its large population, it should not have come to this.

But this nation has erred with one offence the blessed Holy One will not forgive. For all this precious and exalted work, namely giving to others, which they have undertook, must be for the blessed Holy One and not for the sake of humanity. And because they serve, but not for His sake, from Nature’s perspective, they have no right to exist.

Try to imagine if every person in that society were anxious to keep the commandment of the blessed Holy One to the extent of the verse: And you shall love YHWH your God with all your heart and with all your being and with all your might (Deuteronomy 6:4), and to that extent each would rush to satisfy the needs and wants of his fellow to the utmost degree as it is man’s nature to satisfy his own wants, as is written, love your fellow as yourself (Leviticus 19:18).

If the blessed Holy One Himself were the aim of every worker while working for the well-being of society, meaning that the worker would anticipate that this service to society would reward him with cleaving with Him, the source of all truth and goodness and every sweetness and tenderness, there is no doubt that within a few years they would soar in wealth over all the countries of the world put together. That is because then they would be able to utilize the raw materials in their rich soil, would truly be an example for all the countries, and would be called blessed by the blessed Holy One.

But when all the work of giving to others is based solely on the benefit of society, it is a shaky foundation, for who and what would obligate the individual to toil for society? In a dry, lifeless principle, one can never hope to find motivation even among developed people, much less for undeveloped people. Thus arises the question, “Where would the worker or the farmer find sufficient motivation to work?”

For his daily bread will not increase or decrease according to his efforts, and there are no goals or rewards awaiting him. It is well known to researchers of Nature that one cannot perform even the slightest movement without motivation, without somehow benefiting himself.

When, for example, one moves his hand from the chair to the table, it is only because he thinks that by putting his hand on the table he will enjoy it more. If he did not think so, he would leave his hand on the chair for the rest of his life without moving it at all. All the more so with greater efforts.

And if you say that there is a solution—to place them under supervision so that anyone who is idle at his work will be punished by withholding his salary, I will ask, “Do tell me where the supervisors themselves should take the motivation for their work?” Because standing at one place and watching over people to motivate them to work is a great effort, too, perhaps more than the work itself! [cf. BT Sukkah 26a: “A person entrusts others (with the task of waking him from his) sleep. Rav Mesharsheyya protested: your guarantor needs a guarantor!”]. Therefore, it is like one wishes to switch on a machine without powering it.

Hence, they are doomed by Nature, since the Laws of Nature will punish them because they do not conform to Her decrees—performing these acts of giving to others in the form of serving the blessed Holy One, in order to attain the purpose of Creation, which is cleaving with Him. It was explained in the essay Matan Torah, that this cleaving comes to the one who labors in the manner of His sweet and delightful abundance, increasing to the desired degree for ascending to apprehend the truth of the blessed Holy One, until he is rewarded with what is hinted at by: Neither has the eye seen, O God, besides You, [what He has prepared for him that waits for Him] (Isaiah 64:4).

And imagine the farmer and the worker were so inspired while serving the well-being of society, they would certainly not need any supervisors, since they would already have sufficient motivation for a great effort, enough to raise society to the heights of happiness.

But the truth is that understanding this in such a way requires great care and proven conducts [or: faithful arrangements]. But everyone can see that without it they have no right to exist from the perspective of unyielding Nature, which knows no compromise, and this is what I wanted to demonstrate here.

Thus, I have shown from the perspective of empirical reason—from the actual history unfolding before our very eyes—that there is no other cure for humanity but to accept the commandment of providence: giving to others in order to please the blessed Holy One to the degree of two verses.

First: love your fellow as yourself (Leviticus 19:18), which is the quality of the service itself. This means that the extent one endeavors to give to others for the betterment of society should be no less than the extent he naturally cares for his own needs. Moreover, he should put his fellow’s needs before his own, as is written in the essay Matan Torah.

Then: And you shall love YHWH your God with all your heart and with all your being and with all your might (Deuteronomy 6:4). This is the goal that must be before everyone’s eyes when serving his fellow’s needs. This means that he labors and toils only to find favor in the eyes of the Creator—that He speak and they perform His will.

If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land (Isaiah 1:19)—for poverty and suffering and exploitation shall be no more in the land, and the happiness of each and every one shall soar ever higher, beyond measure. But as long as you refuse to assume the covenant of serving the blessed Holy One to the utmost degree, Laws of Nature stand ready to exact revenge. And as we have explained, He will not relent until He defeats us and we accept His authority, in whatever He commands.

And here I have provided you with research according to the critique of empirical reason regarding the absolute necessity of all people to assume the service of the blessed Holy One with all their heart, soul, and might.

Clarification of a saying from the Mishnah

Now that we have learned all the above, we can understand a statement which is unclear: “[Rabbi Akiva] used to say: All is given on collateral, and a net is spread over all the living. The shop is open, the shopkeeper extends credit, the ledger is open, and the hand records. Whoever wishes to borrow may come and borrow. The collectors regularly make their daily rounds and collect payment from a person, whether he realizes it or not. They have [a record] on which they can rely; the judgment is just; and all is prepared for the banquet” (M Avot 3:20).

Not for nothing does this parable remain hidden to us, without even a hint as to its meaning. This tells us that there is a great depth to delve into here. Indeed, it is well understood according to the knowledge we have acquired thus far.

The wheel of transformation

First, let me present the opinion of our sages concerning the unfolding of the generations of the world: although we see the bodies changing from generation to generation, this is only the case with the bodies. But the souls, which are the essence of the body, do not vanish, to be replaced, but travel from body to body, from generation to generation. The same souls that were at the time of the flood came also during the time of Babylon, and in the exile in Egypt, and in the exodus from Egypt, and so forth, until this generation and until the end of correction [see BT Shabbat 152b; Bahir §§121–22, 195].

Thus, in our world, there are no new souls the way bodies are renewed, but only a certain amount of souls that cycle on the wheel of transformation, because each time they enclothe in a new body and a new generation.

Therefore, with regard to the souls, all generations since the beginning of Creation to the final correction are like one generation that has extended its life over several thousand years, until it developed and was corrected as it should be. And the fact that in the meantime each has exchanged its body thousands of times is completely irrelevant, because the essence of the body’s self, called “the soul,” does not suffer at all by these changes.

And there is much evidence pointing to this, and a great wisdom called “the mystery of גִּלְגּוּל הַנְשָׁמוֹת (gilggul ha-neshamot), cycling souls.” And while this is not the place to explain it, because of the great importance of the matter, it is worthwhile to point out to the uninformed that cycling souls occurs in all the objects of tangible reality, and each object, in its own way, lives eternal life.

Although our senses tell us that everything is transient, this is only how we see it. In fact, here there are only cycles—no object is still, nor does it rest for even a moment, rather it cycles on the wheel of transformation, losing nothing of its essence along its way, as physicists have shown.

And now we come to clarify: “All is given on collateral.” This has been compared to someone who lends money to his fellow in order to make him a partner in the profit. To make sure that he doesn’t lose his money, he gives it to him as collateral, and thus he is free of any uncertainty. The same applies to the creation of the world and its existence, which the blessed Holy One has prepared for humanity to engage in and to eventually attain through it the exalted intention of cleaving with Him, as is explained in the essay Matan Torah. Thus, one must wonder, who would compel humanity to engage in His service, until they finally come to this exalted end?

Rabbi Akiva informs us about that: “All is given on collateral.” This means that everything that the blessed Holy One placed in Creation and has given to people, He did not give to them for free, but secured Himself with collateral. And should you wonder what collateral He was given? He replies: “and a net is spread over all the living.” This means that the blessed Holy One has cleverly devised a wonderous net and spread it over all of humanity, so no one will escape. All the living must be caught in this net and inevitably accept His service, until they attain their sublime purpose. This is the collateral with which the blessed Holy One secured Himself, to guarantee that no harm would come to the act of Creation.

Afterwards, he interprets it in detail and says, “The shop is open.” Meaning that this world seems to us like an open shop, without a shopkeeper, and anyone who passes through may take as much as he wishes, free of charge. However, Rabbi Akiva warns us that the shopkeeper sells on credit. In other words, although you cannot see any shopkeeper here, know that there is a shopkeeper, and the reason that he is not demanding payment is because he sells to you on credit.

And should you say, “How does He know what I owe?” He replies, “The ledger is open, and the hand records.” Meaning there is a book in which each act is written without fail. And the purpose revolves around the law of development that the blessed Holy One has embedded in humanity, which drives us ever forward.

This means that corrupt leadership in the states of humanity are the very ones that generate the good states. And each good state is nothing but the fruit of the labor in the bad state which preceded it. Indeed, these values of good and bad do not refer to the value of the state itself, but to the general purpose: each state that brings humanity closer to the purpose [of Creation] is called “good,” and one that distances them from the purpose is called “bad.”

By this standard alone the “law of development” is built—the corruption and wickedness that arises in a state are considered the cause of the good state, so that each state lasts just long enough to cultivate the evil in it to such a degree that the public can no longer tolerate it. At that time, the public is forced to join against it, uproot it, and regroup in a better state for the restoration of that generation.

And the new state, too, lasts just as long as the sparks of wickedness in it ripen and reach such a degree that they can no longer be tolerated, at which time it must be destroyed and a more peaceful state is built in its stead. And so the states clear up one by one and rung by rung until they come to such a restored state that it is without any sparks of wickedness.

And you discover that all the seeds from which the good states grow are only the corrupt deeds themselves, meaning that all the wickedness laid bare from under the hands of the wicked of the generation merge and accrue a great sum, until they weigh so heavily that the public can no longer bear them. Then, they rise up and demolish it and create a more desirable state. Thus you see that all the wickedness done becomes the driving force by which the good state is developed.

These are the words of Rabbi Akiva: “The ledger is open, and the hand records.” Any state that the generation is in is like a book, and all the wicked ones are as writing hands because each evil is carved and written in the book until they accrue an amount that the public can no longer bear. Then, they demolish that wicked state and regroup into a more desirable state. Thus, each and every act is calculated and written in the book, meaning in the state.

And he says, “Whoever wishes to borrow may come and borrow.” This means that he believes that this world is not like an open shop without shopkeeper, but that there is an owner present, a shopkeeper who stands in his shop and demands of each customer the right price for the merchandise he takes from the shop, meaning toiling in His service while he is nourished by that shop, in a manner that is certain to deliver him to the purpose of Creation, as He desires.

Such a person is regarded as he who wishes to borrow. Thus, even before he reaches out his hand to take from this world, which is the shop, he promises to faithfully repay his debt. In other words, he takes it upon himself to labor in order to attain His desire during the time he is supported by the shop, in a way that he promises to pay his debt by achieving the desired goal. Therefore, he is deemed as one who wishes to borrow, meaning that he pledges to return the debt.

Such a person is regarded as one who wishes to borrow. Thus, even before he stretches his hand to take from this world, “the shop,” he takes it on credit. In other words, he takes it upon himself to labor in order to attain His desire during the time he is supported by the shop—he promises to repay his debt by laboring for the purpose [of Creation]. Therefore, he is deemed one who wants to take purchase on credit.

Rabbi Akiva portrays two types of people: the first are “the shop is open” type, which regard this world as an open shop without shopkeeper. Of them he says, “The ledger is open, and the hand records.” Meaning, although they do not see that there is an account, all their actions are nonetheless written in the book, as explained above. This is according to the law of development embedded in Creation against humanity’s will, in which the deeds of the wicked themselves necessarily give rise to the good deeds, as we have shown above.

The second type of person is called “whoever wishes to borrow.” They take the shopkeeper into consideration, and when they take something from the shop, they only take it on credit. They promise to repay the shopkeeper the fixed price, meaning to attain the purpose [of Creation] by it. And of them he says, “Whoever wishes to borrow may come and borrow.”

And if you say, “What is the difference between the first type, in which the purpose [of Creation] comes to them according to the law of development, and the other type, in which the purpose [of Creation] comes to them by enslaving themselves to His service? Are they not equal in attaining the goal?!”

In that regard, he continues, “The collectors regularly make their daily rounds and collect payment from a person, whether he realizes it or not.” Thus, in truth, both give their daily payments of the debt.

And just as the forces that emerge by engaging in His service are deemed faithful collectors, who collect their debt incrementally each day, until it is paid in full, the mighty forces embedded in the law of development are also deemed faithful collectors who collect on their debt. This is the meaning of, “The collectors regularly make their daily rounds and collect payment from a person.”

However, there is a great difference and distance between them, meaning “whether he realizes it or not.” The first type pay their debt unknowingly, but storming waves crash upon them from the strong wind of development, driving them from behind, forcing them to advance.

Thus, their debt is collected against their will and with great suffering through manifestations of the forces of evil, which drive them from behind. But the second type pay their debt, which is the attainment of the purpose [of Creation] knowingly, of their own accord, by repeating the deeds which hasten the development of the sense of recognition of evil. And through this labor they gain doubly.

The first gain that these forces, which manifest from His service, are set before them as a magnetic force. They chase after it of their own free choice, with the spirit of love. Needless to say, they are free from any kind of sorrow and suffering like the first type.

The second gain is that they hasten the purpose [of Creation], for they are the righteous and the prophets who attain the goal in each generation, as is explained in the essay, Mahutah shel ḥokhmat ha-qabbalah (The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah), in, Al mah sovevet ha-ḥokhmah (What Does the Wisdom Revolve Around?).

“All is given on collateral, and a net is spread over all the living. The shop is open, the shopkeeper extends credit, the ledger is open, and the hand records. Whoever wishes to borrow may come and borrow. The collectors regularly make their daily rounds and collect payment from a person, whether he realizes it or not. They have [a record] on which they can rely; the judgment is just; and all is prepared for the banquet.”

Thus you see that there is a great difference between those who pay knowingly and those who pay unknowingly, as the profit of the light of sweet delight over the darkness of pain and suffering. As he says: “They have [a record] on which they can rely.” In other words, he promises all those who pay knowingly and willingly that they have what to rely on, that there is great strength in His service to bring them to the sublime purpose [of Creation], and it is worthwhile for them to harness themselves under His burden.

And of those who pay unknowingly, he says, “the judgment is just.” Seemingly, one must wonder why providence permits corruption and suffering to manifest in the world, in which humanity is being scorched mercilessly.

He says about it that this “the judgment is just,” since “all is prepared for the banquet,” for the true intention. And the sublime delight that is destined to emerge with the revelation of His purpose in Creation, when all the trouble and toil and anguish that befall us through time will seem like a host who troubles himself greatly to prepare a great feast for the invited guests. And he compares the anticipated end that must finally be revealed to a banquet, whose guests attend with great pleasure. This is why he says, “the judgment is just; and all is prepared for the banquet.”

Such as that you will find regarding the creation of man:

The ministering angels said to the blessed Holy One: “Master of the Universe! What is man that You should note him, and the human creature, that You pay him heed? (Psalms 8:5). This trouble, for what has it been created?” He said to them, “If so sheep and oxen all together (ibid., 8), why were they created; why were birds of the heavens and fish of the sea (ibid., 9) created? A tower full of good things and no guests—what pleasure has its owner in having filled it?” They said to Him: “Master of the Universe! YHWH our Master, how majestic Your name in all the earth! (ibid., 10). Do what pleases You!” (Bereshit Rabbah 8:6).

Interpretation: The ministering angels who saw all the pain and suffering that was to befall humanity wondered “Why do You need this trouble?” And the blessed Holy One replied to them that indeed he had a tower full of good things, but only humanity was invited to it. And of course, the ministering angels weighed the pleasures in that tower, awaiting its guests, against the suffering and trouble that awaited humanity.

And once they saw that it was worthwhile for humanity to suffer for the good that awaited them, they agreed to the creation of man, just as Rabbi Akiva said, “the judgment is just; and all is prepared for the banquet.” Since the beginning of Creation, all people have had doubts but the thought of the blessed Holy One imposes on them to come to the banquet, knowingly or unknowingly.

And now all will see the truth in the words of the prophet in the prophecy of peace: The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid (Isaiah 11:6). And he reasoned: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of YHWH, as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9).

Thus, the prophet makes filling the whole world with knowledge of the blessed Holy One a condition for peace in the world, just as we have said above. The egoistic resistance between man and man deteriorate will not cease from the world by any human counsel or tactic, whatever it may be.

Our eyes see how the destitute turn over in dreadful, intolerable suffering, and humanity has already veered to the extreme right, as with Germany, or to the extreme left, as with Russia. But not only have they not eased the situation for themselves, they have worsened the plague and suffering, and the tulmult reaches up to the sky, as we all know.

Thus, they have no other choice but to accept His burden in knowledge of the blessed Holy One, meaning that they bend their actions to the will of the blessed Holy One and to His purpose, as He planned for them before Creation. And when they do that, it is plain to see that with His service, all envy and hatred will be abolished from humanity, as I have shown above. This is because then all members of humanity will unite into one body and one heart, full of the knowledge of the blessed Holy One. Thus, world peace and the knowledge of Him are one and the same thing.

Immediately following, the prophet says, And it shall come to pass in that day, that YHWH shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people…and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth (Isaiah 11:11–12). Thus we learn that world peace comes before the ingathering of the exiles.

Now you can understand the words of our sages: Rabbi Shim’on son of Ḥalafta said, “The blessed Holy One found no vessel to hold blessing for Israel but peace, as it says: May YHWH give strength to His people. May YHWH bless His people with peace (Psalms 29:11)” (M Uqtsin 3:12). Seemingly, one should wonder about this, “vessel to hold blessing for Israel.” Moreover, how does one draw that conclusion from these words?

But these words become clear to them like the prophecy of Isaiah that world peace precedes the ingathering of the exiles. This is it says, May YHWH give strength to His people—that in the future, when the blessed Holy One gives His people strength, meaning everlasting revival, then: May YHWH bless His people with peace. This means that He will first bless His people, Israel, with peace the world over, and then He shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people.

Our sages said about the reason for the words: the blessing of peace in the whole world precedes the strength, meaning the redemption, because “The blessed Holy One found no vessel to hold blessing for Israel but peace.” Thus, as long as self-interest and egoism exist among the nations, the Children of Israel, too, will not be able to serve the blessed Holy One on the side of purity in the matter of giving to others, as is written, And as for you, you will become for Me a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6), in the essay, Ha-Arvut. And we see it from experience, for coming to the Land and building the Temple can not be maintained in order to receive the blessings the blessed Holy One has sworn to our Patriarchs.

And this is why they said, “The blessed Holy One found no vessel to hold blessing for Israel but peace,” meaning until this time Israel has no vessel to hold the blessing of the Patriarchs. Therefore, the promise that we inherit the Land for all eternity has not yet been fulfilled, because world peace is the sole vessel that enables us to receive the blessing of the Patriarchs, as in the prophecy of Isaiah.

Freedom by Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag (Ba’al ha-Sullam)

Ba'al ha-Sullam Portrait

Inscribed on the tablets (Exodus 32:16). Do not read חָרוּת (ḥarut), inscribed, but rather חֵרוּת (ḥerut), freedom—they are liberated from the Angel of Death” (Shemot Rabbah 41:7). These words need to be clarified, because how is the matter of receiving the Torah related to one’s liberation from death? Furthermore, once they have attained an eternal body that cannot die due to receiving the Torah, how did they lose it again? Can the eternal become absent?

חֵרוּת הרָצוֹן (Ḥerut ha-ratson), free will

To understand the sublime matter of “liberation from the Angel of Death,” we must first understand the matter of freedom as it is normally understood by all of humanity.

It is a general view that freedom is deemed a natural law, which applies to all of life. Thus, we see that animals that fall into captivity die when we rob them of their freedom. This is a true testimony that providence does not accept the enslavement of any creature. It is with good reason that humanity has been struggling for the past several hundred years to obtain a certain measure of freedom of the individual.

Yet, this concept, expressed in that word, “freedom,” remains unclear, and if we delve into the meaning of that word, there will be almost nothing left. For before you seek the freedom of the individual, you must assume that any individual, in and of itself, possesses that quality called “freedom,” meaning that one can act according to one’s own freedom of choice.

Pleasure and pain

However, when we examine the acts of an individual, we shall find them compulsory. He is compelled to do them and has no freedom of choice. In a sense, he is like a stew cooking on a stove; it has no choice but to cook. And it must cook because providence has harnessed life with two chains: pleasure and pain [cf. Freud, Eros and Death].

Beasts have no בְּחִירָה חָפְשִׁית (beḥirah ḥafshit), freedom of choice [or: right to choose]—to choose pain or reject pleasure [Man’s advantage over the beast is naught (Ecclesiastes 3:19)]. Yet, man’s advantage over the beast is that he can aim at a distant goal, meaning to agree to a certain amount of pain today by choice, for future benefit or pleasure, attained only after some time.

But in fact, there is no more than a seemingly commercial calculation here, where the future benefit or pleasure seems preferable and advantageous to the agony they are suffering from the pain they have agreed to assume presently. There is only a matter of deduction here—that they deduct the pain and suffering from the anticipated pleasure, and there remains some surplus.

Thus, only the pleasure is extended. And so it sometimes happens, that we are tormented because we did not find the attained pleasure to be the surplus we had hoped for compared to the agony we suffered; hence, we are in deficit, just as merchants do.

And when all is said and done, there is no difference here between man and animal [cf. Ecclesiastes 3:19]. And if that is the case, there is no freedom of choice whatsoever, but a pulling force, drawing them toward any bypassing pleasure and rejecting them from painful circumstances. And providence leads them to every place it chooses by means of these two forces, without asking their opinion in the matter.

Moreover, even determining the type of pleasure and benefit are entirely out of one’s own freedom of choice, but follow the will of others, as they want, and not he. For example: I sit, I dress, I speak, and I eat. I do all these not because I want to sit that way, or talk that way, or dress that way, or eat that way, but because others want me to sit, dress, talk, and eat that way. It all follows the desire and fancy of society, not my own freedom of choice.

Furthermore, in most cases, I do all these against my will. For I would be a lot more comfortable behaving simply, without any burden. But I am chained with iron shackles, in all my movements, to the fancies and manners of others, which make up the society [cf. Freud, Civilization and its Discontents].

So you tell me, where is my free will? On the other hand, if we assume that the will has no freedom, then we are all like machines, operating and creating through external forces, which compel them to act this way. This means that we are all incarcerated in the prison of providence, which, using these two chains, pleasure and pain, pushes and pulls us to its will, to where it sees fit.

It turns out that there is no such thing as selfishness in the world, since no one here is free or stands on his own two feet. I am not the owner of the act, and I am not the performer because I want to perform, but I am performed upon, in a compulsory manner, and without my awareness. Thus, reward and punishment become extinct.

And it is quite odd not only for the orthodox, who believe in His providence and can rely on Him and trust that He aims only for the best in this conduct. It is even stranger for those who believe in nature, since according to the above, we are all incarcerated by the chains of blind nature, with no awareness or accountability. And we, the chosen species, with reason and knowledge, have become a toy in the hands of the blind nature, which leads us astray, and who knows where?

The law of causality

It is worthwhile taking some time to grasp such an important thing, meaning how we exist in the world as beings with a “self,” where each of us regards himself a unique entity, acting on its own, independent of external, foreign, and unknown forces. And does this being—the self—appear to us?

It is true that there is a general connection among all the elements of reality before us, which abide by the law of causality, by way of cause and effect, moving forward. And as the whole, so is each item for itself, meaning that each and every creature in the world from the four categories—mineral, vegetable, animal, and human—abides by the statute of causality by way of cause and effect.

Moreover, each particular form of a particular behavior, by which a creature is led while in this world, is propelled by ancient causes, pushed to accept that change in that behavior and not another whatsoever. And this is apparent to all who examine the ways of nature from a pure scientific point of view and without a shred of bias. Indeed, we must analyze this matter to allow ourselves to examine it from all sides.

Four factors

Bear in mind that every emergence occurring in the beings of the world must be perceived not as emanating something from nothing, but as something from something, through an actual entity that has shed its previous form and has enclothed in its current one.

Therefore, we must understand that with every emergence in the world there are four factors that together give rise to that emergence. They are called by the names:

  1. The source
  2.  The unchanging conduct of cause and effect, related to the source’s own quality
  3. Its internal conduct of cause and effect, which change by contact with external forces
  4. The conducts of cause and effect of external forces, which affect it from the outside

I will clarify them one at a time:

First reason: the source

The “source” is the first matter, related to that being. For there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9), and anything that happens in our world is not something from nothing, but something from something. It is an entity that has stripped off its former shape and taken on another form, different from the first. And that entity, which shed its previous form, is defined as “the source.” In it lies the potential destined to be revealed and determined at the end of the formation of that emergence [cf. BT Menaḥot 29a: “All was given to Moses at Sinai”]. Therefore, clearly, this is considered its primary cause.

Second reason: cause and effect that stem from itself

This is a conduct of cause and effect, related to the source’s own quality, and which is unchanging. Take, for example, a stalk of wheat that has rotted in the ground and arrived at a state of sowing many stalks of wheat. Thus, that rotten state is deemed the “source,” meaning that the essence of the wheat has stripped off its former shape, the shape of wheat, and has taken on a new aspect, that of rotten wheat, which is the seed, called “the source,” which has no shape at all. Now, after rotting in the ground, it has become fit for enclothing in another form, the form of many stalks of wheat, intended to emerge from that source, which is the seed.

It is known to all that this source is destined to become neither cereal nor oats, but only equalize with its former shape, which has left it, being the single stalk of wheat. And although it changes to a certain degree in quality and quantity, for in the former shape it was a single stalk and now there are ten stalks, and in taste and appearance, too, the essence of the shape of the wheat remains unchanged.

Thus, there is a conduct of cause and effect here, ascribed to the source’s own quality, which never changes. Thus, cereal will never emerge from wheat, as we have said, and this is called “second reason.”

Third reason: cause and effect

This is the conduct of the internal cause and effect of the source, which change upon encountering the alien forces in its environment. Thus, we find that from one stalk of wheat, which rots in the ground, many stalks emerge, sometimes larger and better wheat than prior to sowing.

Therefore, there must be additional factors involved here, collaborating and connecting with the force concealed in the environment, meaning the “source.” And because of that, the additions in quality and quantity, which were absent in the previous form of wheat, have now appeared. Those are the minerals and the materials in the ground, the rain and the sun. All these act on it by administering from their forces and joining the force within the source itself. And through the conduct of cause and effect, they have produced the multiplicity in quantity and quality of that emergence.

We must understand that this third factor joins with the internality of the source, since the force hidden in the source controls them. In the end, all these changes belong to the wheat and to no other plant. Hence, we define them as internal factors. However, they differ from the second factor, which is utterly unchanging, whereas the third factor changes in both quality and quantity.

Fourth reason: cause and effect through external forces

This is a conduct of cause and effect of external forces that act upon it from the outside. In other words, they have no direct relation to the wheat, like minerals, rain, or sun, but are external to it, for example nearby things or external phenomena, such as hail, wind, and so forth.

And you find that four forces adhere in the wheat throughout its growth. Each particular state that the wheat is subject to during that time becomes conditioned on the four of them, and the quality and quantity of each state is determined by them. And as we have portrayed in the wheat, so is the rule in every emergence in the world, even in thoughts and ideas.

If, for example, we imagine some conceptual state in a certain individual, such as the state of being religious or nonreligious, or extremely orthodox or not so extreme, or midway, we will understand that that state is determined in that person by the above four factors.

Hereditary traits

The cause of the first factor is the source, which is its first substance. Man is formed something from something, meaning from the minds of its progenitors. Thus, to a certain extent, it is like copying from book to book. This means that almost all the convictions that were accepted and attained in the fathers and forefathers are reproduced here, as well [see BT Baba Metsi’a 85a, cf. Nedarim 81a; Genesis 30:32-43].

But the difference is that they are in an abstract form, much like the sowed wheat, which is not fit for sowing until it has rotted and shed its former shape. So is the case with the drop of semen from which man is conceived: there is nothing in it of its ancestor’s shapes, only abstract force.

For the same ideas that were convictions in his ancestors have become mere inclinations in him, called “instincts” or “habits,” without even knowing why one does what he does. Indeed, they are hidden forces he inherits from his ancestors in such a way that not only do material possessions come to us through inheritance from our ancestors, but the spiritual possessions and all the convictions that our fathers engaged in also come to us by inheritance from generation to generation.

And from here surface the manifold inclinations that we find in people, such as a inclination to believe or to criticize, a inclination to settle for material life or desiring only ideas, despising a life without aspirations, stingy, yielding, insolent, or shy.

All these images that appear in people are not their own property, which they have acquired, but mere inheritance that had been given to them by their ancestors. It is known that there is a special place in the brain where these hereditaments reside [cf. Ibn Ezra, Perush al ha-Torah on Exodus 31:3, cf. Posidonius of Byzantium, Aetius, 1534, 1549, 6:2: “Imagination is due to the forepart of the brain, reason to the middle ventricle, and memory to the hind part of the brain”]. It is called, medulla oblongata (the elongated brain), or the ‘subconscious,’ and all the drives appear there.

But because the convictions of our ancestors, acquired through their experiences, have become mere inclinations in us, they are considered the same as the sowed wheat, which has taken off its former shape and remained bare, having only potential forces worthy of receiving new forms. In our matter, these inclinations will enclothe the forms of convictions. This is considered the first substance, and this is the primary factor, called “source.” In it reside all the forces of the unique inclinations one inherits from his progenitors, which are defined as “ancestral heritage.”

Bear in mind that some of these inclinations come in a negative form, meaning the opposite of the ones that were in his ancestors. This is why they said, “All that is hidden in the father’s heart is openly revealed in the son.” 

The reason for it is that the source takes off its former shape in order to take on a new form. Hence, it is close to losing the shapes of the convictions of his ancestors, like the wheat that rots in the ground loses the shape that existed in the wheat. However, it still depends on the other three factors.

Influence of the environment

The second reason is an unchanging, direct conduct of cause and effect, related to the source’s own quality. Meaning, as we have clarified with the wheat that rots in the ground, the environment in which the source rests, such as soil, minerals, and rain, air, and the sun affect the sowing by a long chain of cause and effect in a long and gradual process, state by state, until they ripen.

And the source retakes its former shape, the shape of wheat, but differing in quality and quantity. In their general aspect, they remain completely unchanged; hence, no cereal or oats will grow from it. But in their particular aspect, they change in quantity, as from one stalk emerge a dozen or two dozen stalks, and in quality, as they are better or worse than the former shape of the wheat.

It is the same here: man, as a “source,” is placed in an environment, meaning in the society. And he is necessarily affected by it, as the wheat from its environment, for the source is but a raw form. Thus, through the constant contact with the environment and the society, he is gradually impressed by them through a chain of consecutive states, one by one, as cause and effect.

At that time, the inclinations included in his source are changed and take on the form of convictions. For example, if one inherits from his ancestors an inclination towards stinginess, as he grows he builds for himself convictions and ideas that conclude decisively that it is good for a person to be stingy. Thus, although his father was generous, he can inherit from him the negative inclination—to be stingy, for the absence is just as much an inheritance as the presence.

Or, if one inherits from one’s ancestors an inclination to be open-minded, he builds for himself ideas, and draws from them conclusions that it is good for a person to be open-minded. But where does one find those sentences and reasons? One takes all that from his environment unknowingly, for they impart to him their views and preferences in the form of gradual cause and effect.

Hence, man regards them as his own possession, which he acquired through his free thought. But here, too, as with the wheat, there is one unchanging part of the source, which is that in the end, the inclinations he had inherited remain as they were in his ancestors. And this is called “the second factor.”

Habit becomes second nature

The third reason is a conduct of direct cause and effect, which affect the source and change it. Because the inherited inclinations in man have become convictions, due to the environment, they operate in the same directions that these convictions define. For example, a man of frugal nature, in whom the inclination for stinginess has been turned into a concept, through the environment, perceives frugality through some reasonable definition.

Let us assume that with this conduct, he protects himself from needing others. Thus, he has acquired a measure of frugality, and when that fear is absent, he can waive it. Thus, he has substantially changed for the better from the inclination he had inherited from his ancestors. And sometimes one manages to completely uproot a bad inclination. This is done by habit, which has the potential of becoming second nature.

In that, the strength of man is greater than that of a plant. For wheat can change only in its private part, whereas man has the ability to change through the cause and effect of the environment, even in the general parts, that is, to completely uproot an inclination and invert it.

External forces

The fourth reason is a conduct of cause and effect that affects the source by things that are completely foreign to it, and act on it externally. This means that these things are not at all related to the source’s growth conduct, to affect it directly, but rather act indirectly. For example, monetary issues, burdens, or the winds, and so forth, have their own complete, slow, and gradual progression of states by way of cause and effect, and change man’s convictions for better or for worse.

Thus, I have established the four natural factors of each and every thought and idea that appears in us is but their fruit. And even if one were to sit and contemplate something all day long, he would not be able to add or alter what those four factors impart to him. Anything he can add is only in quantity; whether a great intellect or a small one. But in quality, he cannot add one bit. This is because they are the ones that compellingly determine the nature and shape of the idea and the conclusion, without asking our opinion. Thus, we are at the hands of these four factors, as clay in the hands of a potter.

בְּחִירָה חָפְשִׁית (Be-irah afshit), freedom of choice

However, when we examine these four factors, we find that although our strength is not enough to face the first factor, the “source,” we still have the capacity and the freedom of choice to protect ourselves against the other three factors, by which the source changes in its individual parts, and sometimes in its general part, as well, through habit, which endows it with a second nature.

The environment as a factor

This protection means that we can always supplement in the matter of choosing our environment, which are the companions, books, teachers, and so on. It is like a person who inherited a few stalks of wheat from his father. From this small amount, he can grow dozens of stalks through his choice of the environment for his “source,” which is fertile soil, with all the necessary minerals and raw materials that nourish the wheat abundantly.

There is also the matter of the work of improving the environmental conditions to fit the needs of the plant and the growth, for the wise will do well to choose the best conditions and will find blessing. And the fool will take from whatever comes before him, and will thus turn the sowing to a curse rather than to a blessing.

Thus, all its praise and spirit depends on the choice of the environment in which to sow the wheat. But once it has been sown in the selected location, the wheat’s absolute shape is determined according to the measure that the environment is capable of providing.

So is the case with our matter, for it is true that with will there is no freedom. Rather, it is acted upon by the above four factors. And one is compelled to think and inquire as they insist, denied of any means to criticize or change, as the wheat that has been sown in its environment.

However, there is freedom for the will to choose from the outset such an environment, such books, and such guides which impart to him good convictions. If one does not do that, but is willing to enter any environment that appears to him, reading any book that falls into his hands, he is bound to veer into a bad environment or waste his time on worthless books, which are abundant and easier to come by. Consequently he will be forced into bad convictions making him offend and renounce, perish the thought. He will certainly be punished, not because of his evil thoughts or deeds, in which he has no choice, but because he did not choose to inhabit a good environment, for in that there is definitely a choice.

Therefore, he who strives to continually choose a better environment is worthy of praise and reward. But here, too, it is not because of his good thoughts and deeds, which present themselves against his will, but because of his effort to acquire a good environment, which brings him good thoughts and deeds. It is as Rabbi Yehoshua son of Peraḥya said, “Get yourself a Rav, acquire a companion [and give everyone the benefit of the doubt]” (M Avot 1:6).

The necessity to choose a good environment

Now you can understand the words of Rabbi Yose son of Qisma, who replied to a person who offered him to live in his town, and he would give him thousands of gold coins for it: “Were you to give me all the silver and gold and precious stones and pearls in the world, I would not live anywhere except in a place of Torah” (M Avot 6:9) [cf. BT Sukkah 56b; Zohar 2:38b; 3:218a (RM)]. These words seem all too sublime for our simple minds to grasp, for how could he give up thousands of gold coins for such a small thing as living in a place where there are no disciples of Torah, while he himself was a great sage who needed to learn from no one? A mystery indeed.

But as we have seen, it is a simple thing, and should be observed by each and every one of us. For although everyone has “his own source,” the forces are openly revealed only through the environment one is in. This is similar to the wheat sown in the ground, whose forces only become apparent by means of the environment, which is the soil, the rain, and the light of the sun.

Thus, Rabbi Yose son of Qisma correctly assumed that if he were to leave the good environment he had chosen and fall into a harmful environment, in a city where there is no Torah, not only would his former convictions be compromised, but all the other forces hidden in his source, which he had not yet revealed in action, would remain hidden. This is because they would not be subject to the right environment capable of activating them.

And as we have clarified above, only in the matter of the choice of environment is man’s reign over himself measured, and for this he should receive either reward or punishment. Therefore, one must not wonder at a sage such as Rabbi Yose son of Qisma for choosing the good and refusing the bad, and for not being tempted by material and material things, as he deduces there: “Whe a person departs from the world, neither silver nor gold nor precious stones nor pearls accompany him, but only Torah and mitsvot” (M Avot 6:9).

And so our sages warned, “Make for yourself a Rav and acquire for yourself a friend.” And there is also the choice of books, as we have mentioned, for only in that is one rebuked or praised—in his choice of environment. But once he has chosen the environment, he is at its hands as clay in the hands of the potter.

The mind’s control over the body

Some foreign contemporary sages, after contemplating the above matter and seeing how man’s mind is but a fruit that grows out of the events of life, concluded that the mind has no control whatsoever over the body, but only life’s events, embedded in the physical sinews of the brain, control and activate man. And a man’s mind is like a mirror, reflecting the shapes before it. And although the mirror is the carrier of these shapes, it cannot operate the shapes reflected in it.

So is the mind. Although life’s events, in all their aspects of cause and effect, are seen and recognized by the mind, the mind is nonetheless utterly incapable of controlling the body, to bring it into motion, meaning to draw it closer to the good or remove it from the bad. This is because the spiritual and the physical are completely remote from one another, and there is no intermediary apparatus between them to enable the spiritual mind to activate and operate the material body, as has been discussed at length.

But where they are smart, they disrupt. Man’s imagination uses the mind just as the microscope serves the eye: without the microscope, he would not see anything harmful, due to its smallness. But once he has seen the harmful element through the microscope, man distances himself from the dangerous factor.

Thus, it is the microscope that brings man to distance himself from the harm, and not the sense, for the sense did not detect the dangerous factor. And to that extent, the mind fully controls man’s body, to avert it from bad and draw it near the good. Thus, in all the places where the quality of the body fails to detect what is beneficial or detrimental, it needs only the mind’s wit.

Furthermore, since man knows his mind, which is a true conclusion from life’s experiences, he can therefore receive knowledge and understanding from a trusted person and take it as law, although his life’s events have not yet revealed these convictions to him. It is like a person who asks the advice of a doctor and obeys him even though he understands nothing with his own mind. Thus, one uses the mind of others no less than one uses one’s own.

As we have clarified above, there are two ways for providence to make for certain that man achieves the good, final goal:

The path of pain and the path of Torah

All the clarity in the path of Torah stems from that. For these clear conceptions that were revealed and recognized after a long chain of events in the lives of the prophets and the men of God, there comes a man who fully utilizes them and benefits from them, as though these convictions were events of his own life. Thus, you see that one is exempted from all the ordeals one must experience before he can develop that clear mind by himself. Thus, one saves both time and pain.

It can be compared to a sick man who does not wish to obey the doctor’s orders before he understands by himself how that advice would cure him, and therefore begins to study medicine. He could die of his illness before he learns medicine.

So is the path of pain versus the path of Torah. One who does not trust the convictions that Torah and prophecy advise him to accept without self-understanding, must arrive at these conclusions himself by following the chain of cause and effect from life’s events. These are experiences that greatly advance and develop the sense of recognition of evil in them, as we have seen, without one’s choice, but because of one’s efforts to acquire a good environment, which leads to these thoughts and actions.

Freedom of the individual

Now we have come to a thorough and accurate understanding of the freedom of the individual. However, that relates only to the first factor, the “source,” which is the first substance of every person, meaning all the characteristics we inherit from our ancestors and by which we differ from each other.

This is because even when thousands of people share the same environment in such a way that the other three factors affect all of them equally, you will still not find two people who share the same quality. This is because each of them has his own unique source. This is like the source of the wheat: although it changes a great deal by the three remaining factors, it still retains the preliminary shape of wheat and will never take on the form of another species.

The general form of the progenitor is never lost

So it is that each “source” that had taken off the preliminary shape of the progenitor and had taken on a new shape as a result of the three factors that were added to it, and which change it significantly, the general shape of the progenitor still remains, and will never assume the shape of another person who resembles him, just as oat will never resemble wheat.

This is so because each and every source is, in itself, a long sequence of generations comprised of several hundred generations, and the source includes the aspects of them all. However, they are not revealed in it in the same ways they appeared in the ancestors, that is, in the form of ideas, but only as abstract forms. Therefore, they exist in him in the form of abstract forces called “inclinations” and “drives,” without him knowing their reason or why he does what he does. Thus, there can never be two people with the same quality.

The necessity of preserving the freedom of the individual

Know, that this is the one true possession of the individual that must not be harmed or altered. This is because the end of all these inclinations, which are included in the source, is to materialize and assume the form of convictions when that individual grows and obtains a mind of his own, as a result of the law of evolution, which controls that chain and prompts it ever forward, as explained in Peace. Also, we learn that each and every inclination is bound to become a sublime and immeasurably important concept.

Thus, anyone who eradicates a inclination from an individual and uproots it causes that sublime and wondrous concept to be lost from the world, intended to emerge at the end of the chain, for that inclination will never again emerge in any other body. Accordingly, we must understand that when a particular inclination takes the form of a concept, it can no longer be distinguished as good or bad. This is because such distinctions are recognized only when they are still inclinations or immature convictions, and in no way are any of them recognized when they assume the shape of true convictions.

From the above we learn what a terrible wrong inflict those nations that force their reign on minorities, depriving them of freedom without allowing them to live their lives by the inclinations they have inherited from their ancestors. They are regarded as no less than murderers.

And even those who do not believe in religion or in purposeful guidance can understand the necessity to preserve the freedom of the individual by watching nature’s systems. For we can see how all the nations that ever fell, throughout the generations, came to it only due to their oppression of minorities and individuals, which had therefore rebelled against them and ruined them [cf. Marx, Communist Manifesto, 79: ‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles’]. Hence, it is clear to all that peace cannot exist in the world if we do not take into consideration the freedom of the individual. Without it, peace will not be sustainable and ruin shall prevail.

Thus, we have clearly defined the essence of the individual with utmost accuracy, after the deduction of all that he takes from the public. But now we face a question: “Where, in the end, is the individual himself?” All we have said thus far concerning the individual is perceived as only the property of the individual, inherited from his ancestors. But where is the individual himself, the heir and the carrier of that property, who demands that we guard his property?

From all that has been said thus far, we have yet to find the point of אָנֹכִית (anokhit), “selfhood,” of man, which stands before our eyes as an independent self [cf. Ibn Ezra, Perush ha-Torah on Exodus 3:11]. And why do I need the first factor, which is a long chain of thousands of people, one after the other, from generation to generation, with which we framed the individual as an heir? And what do I need the other three factors for, which are the thousands of people, standing one next to the other in the same generation? In the end, each individual is but a machine to the public, forever ready to serve the public as it wishes. Meaning, he has become subordinate to two types of צִבּוּר (tsibur), public: From the perspective of the first factor, he has become subordinate to a great age, from past generations, standing one after the other. From the perspective of the other three factors, he has become subordinate to his contemporary generation.

This is indeed a universal question. For this reason, many oppose the above natural method, although they thoroughly know its validity. Instead, they choose metaphysical methods, or dualism, or transcendentalism, to imagine for themselves some spiritual essence and how it sits within the body, in man’s soul. And it is that soul that learns and that operates the body, and it is man’s essence, his “self.”

And perhaps these interpretations could ease the mind, but the problem is that they have no scientific solution as to how a spiritual essence can have any contact with material atoms, to bring them into any kind of motion [cf. Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag, The Wisdom of Kabbalah and Philosophy]. All their wisdom and delving did not help them find a bridge on which to cross that deep and wide canon spread between the spiritual entity and the material atom. Thus, science has gained nothing from all these metaphysical methods.

The desire to receive—something from nothing

To move a step forward in a scientific manner here, all we need is the wisdom of Kabbalah. This is because all the teachings in the world are included in the wisdom of Kabbalah. Concerning spiritual lights and vessels, we learn that the primary innovation, from the perspective of Creation, which He created something from nothing, applies to one aspect only, defined as the “desire to receive.” All other matters in the whole of Creation are not innovations at all; they are notsomething from nothing, but something from something. This means that they emanate directly from His essence, as the light emanates from the sun. There, too, there is nothing new, since what is found in the core of the sun emanates outwardly.

However, the desire to receive is completely novel. Meaning, prior to Creation such a thing did not exist in reality, since He has no aspect of desire to receive, as He precedes everything, so from whom would He receive?

For this reason, this desire to receive, which He extracted as something from nothing, is completely novel. All the rest, though, is not considered an innovation that could be termed “creation.” Hence, all the vessels and the bodies, both of spiritual worlds and of physical worlds, are deemed spiritual or material substance, whose nature is the desire to receive.

Two forces in the desire to receive: the attracting force and the rejecting force

You need to determine further that we distinguish two forces in that force called the “desire to receive”:

The attracting force and the rejecting force

The reason is that each body, or vessel, defined by the desire to receive is indeed limited, meaning the quality it receives and the quantity it receives. Therefore, all the quantity and quality that are outside its boundaries appear to be against its nature; hence, it rejects them. Thus, that desire to receive, although it is deemed an attracting force, is compelled to become a rejecting force, as well.

One law for all the worlds

Although the wisdom of Kabbalah utters nothing of our material world, there is still only one law for all the worlds [see, The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah: The Law of Root and Branch]. Thus, all the material entities in our world, that is, everything within that space, be it mineral, vegetable, animal, a spiritual object or a material object, if we want to distinguish the unique self of each of them, how they differentiate from one another, even in the smallest of particles, it amounts to no more than a “desire to receive.” This is its entire particular form, from the perspective of the generated creation, limiting it in quantity and quality. As a result, there is an attracting force and a rejecting force in it.

Yet, anything other that exists in it besides these two forces is deemed abundance from His essence. That abundance is equal for all creatures, and it presents no innovation, with respect to creation, as it emanates something from something.

Also, it cannot be ascribed to any particular unit, but only to things that are common to all parts of creation, small or large. Each of them receives from that abundance according to its desire to receive, and this limitation defines each individual and unit.

Thus, I have evidently—from a purely scientific perspective—proven the “self” of every individual in a scientific, completely criticism-proof method, even according to the system of the fanatic automatic materialists. From now on, we have no need for those lame methods steeped in metaphysics.

And of course, it makes no difference whether this force, being the desire to receive, is a fruit resulting from the material that had produced it through chemistry, or that the material is a fruit resulting from that force. This is because we know that the main thing is that only this force, embedded in every being and atom of the “desire to receive,” within its boundaries, is the unit where it is separated and distinguished from its environment. And this holds true both for a single atom or for a group of atoms, called “a body.”

All other aspects in which there is a surplus of that force are not related in any way to that paricle or that group of particles, with respect to itself, but only with respect to the whole, which is the abundance emanated to them from the blessed Holy One, which is common to all parts of Creation together, without the distinction of specific created bodies.

Now we shall understand the matter of the freedom of the individual, according to the definition of the first factor, which we called the “source,” where all previous generations, which are the ancestors of that individual, have embedded their nature. As we have clarified, the meaning of the word, “individual,” is but the boundaries of the desire to receive, embedded in its collection of molecules.

Thus you see that all the inclinations he has inherited from his ancestors are indeed no more than boundaries of his desire to receive, either related to the attracting force in him, or to the rejecting force in him, which appear before us as inclinations for stinginess or generosity, an inclination to mingle or to stay secluded, and so on.

Because of that, they really are his self, fighting for its existence. Thus, if we were to destroy even a single inclination of that individual, it is as though we severed an actual organ from his essence. And it is also considered a genuine loss for all creation, because there is no other like it, nor will there ever be like it in the whole world.

After we have thoroughly clarified the just right of the individual according to the laws of nature, let us turn and see just how practical it is, without compromising the theory of ethics and statesmanship. And most important: how this right is applied by our holy Torah.

Follow the many for good

And look Scripture says: follow the many (Exodus 23:2). That means that wherever there is a dispute between the many and the individual, we are obliged to rule according to the will of the many. Thus, you see that the many has a right to expropriate the freedom of the individual.

But we are faced with a different question here, even more serious than the first. It seems as though this law regresses humanity instead of promoting it. This is because while most of humanity is undeveloped, and the developed ones are always a small minority, if you always determine according to the will of the many, which are the undeveloped, and the reckless ones, the views and desires of the wise and the developed in society, which are always the minority, will never be heard and will not be taken into consideration. Thus, you seal off humanity’s fate to regression, for it will not be able to make even a single step forward.

However, as explained in Peace: Necessity to Practice Caution with the Laws of Nature, since we are ordered by providence to lead a social life, we have become obligated to observe all the חֻקִּים (ḥuqqim), statutes, pertaining to the sustenance of society. And if we are somewhat negligent, nature will take its revenge on us, regardless of whether or not we understand the reasons for the statutes.

And we can see that there is no other arrangement by which to live in society except following the חוֹק (ḥoq), statute, of follow the many which sets every dispute and tribulation in society in order. Thus, this statute is the only instrument that gives society sustainability. For this reason, it is considered one of the natural commandments of providence, and we must accept it and guard it meticulously, regardless of our understanding [see BT Baba Metsi’a 89b; Maimonides, Guide of the Perplexed 3:31].

This is similar to all the other mitsvot in Torah: all of them are nature’s laws and His providence, which come to us from above downward. And I have already described how all the stubbornness we detect in the conduct of nature in this world is only because they are extended and taken from laws and conducts of upper, spiritual worlds [see Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag, The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah: The Law or Root and Branch].

Now you can understand that the mitsvot in the Torah are no more than laws and conducts set in higher worlds, which are the roots of all of nature’s conducts in this world of ours. The mitsvot of Torah always correspond to the laws of nature in this world as two drops in a pond. Thus, we have proven that follow the many is the statute of providence and nature.

A path of Torah and a path of pain

Yet, our question about the regression, which had emerged from this law is as yet not settled by these words. Indeed, this is our concern—to find ways to mend that. But providence, for itself, does not lose because of that, for it has enveloped humanity in two ways—the path of Torah and the path of pain—in a way that guarantees humanity’s continuous development and progress toward the goal without any reservations [see Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag, Peace: Everything is in Deposit]. Indeed, obeying this statute is a natural obligation.

The many’s right to expropriate the freedom of the individual

We must ask further: things are justified when matters revolve around issues between people. Then we can accept the statute of follow the many through the obligation of providence, which instructs us to always look after the well-being and happiness of the companions. But the Torah obligates us to follow the statute of follow the many in disputes between man and the blessed Holy One, as well, although these matters seem completely unrelated to the existence of society.

Therefore, the question still stands: how can we justify that statute, which obligates us to accept the views of the majority, which is, as we have said, undeveloped, and to reject and annul the opinion of the developed, which are always a small minority?

But as we have shown, in The Essence of Religion and its Purpose: Conscious Development and Unconscious Development, Torah and mitsvot were given only to purify Israel, to develop in us the sense of recognition of evil, embedded in us at birth, which in general is defined as our self-love, and to come to the pure good, defined as “love of others,” which is the one and only passage to love of the blessed Holy One.

Accordingly, the decrees between man and the blessed Holy One are considered tools that detach man from self-love, which is harmful for society. It is thus obvious that the topics of dispute regarding mitsvot between man and the blessed Holy One relate to the problem of society’s sustainability. Thus, they, too, fall into the framework of follow the many.

Now we can understand the practice of distinguishing Halakhah and Aggadah. This is because only in halakhot, does the statute, “Individual and many—Halakhah as the many” apply. It is not so in the Aggadah, since matters of Aggadah stand above matters that concern the existence of society, for they speak precisely of the matter of people’s conduct in matters concerning man and the blessed Holy One, in that same part where the existence and physical happiness of society has no consequence.

Thus, there is no justification for the many to annul the view of the individual and every man did what was right in his eyes (Judges 17:6). But regarding halakhot that deal with observing the mitsvot of Torah, all of which fall under the supervision of society, since there cannot be any order, but through the statute, follow the many.

In social life: the statute of follow the many

Now we have come to a clear understanding of the sentence concerning the freedom of the individual. Indeed, there is a question: “Where did the many take the right to expropriate the freedom of the individual and deny him of the most precious thing in life, freedom?” This is seemingly no more than brute force.

But as we have clearly explained above, it is a natural stature and the decree of providence. And because providence compels each of us to practice a social life, it naturally follows that each person is obligated to secure the existence and well-being of society. And that cannot exist but through imposing the practice of follow the many disregarding the opinion of the individual.

Thus, you see evidently that this is the source of every right and justification that the many has to expropriate the freedom of the individual against his will, and to place him under its authority. Therefore, it is understood that with regard to all those matters that do not concern the existence of the material life of the society, there is no justification for the many to rob and abuse the freedom of the individual in any way. And if they do, they are deemed robbers and thieves who prefer brute force to any right and justice in the world, since here the obligation of the individual to obey the will of the many does not apply.

In spiritual life follow the individual

It turns out that as far as spiritual life is concerned, there is no natural obligation on the individual to abide by the society in any way. On the contrary, here applies a natural law over the many, to subjugate itself to the individual. And it is clarified in TPeace, that there are two ways by which providence has enveloped and surrounded us, to bring us to the end:

A path of pain, which develops us in this manner unconsciously. A path of Torah and wisdom, which consciously develops us in this manner without any agony or coercion.

And since the more developed in the generation is certainly the individual, it follows that when the public wants to relieve themselves of the terrible agony and assume conscious and voluntary development, which is the path of Torah, they have no choice but to subjugate themselves and their physical freedom to the discipline of the individual, and obey the orders and remedies that he will offer them.

Thus you see that in spiritual matters, the authority of the many is overturned and the statute of “follow the individual” is applied, that is, the developed individual. For it is plain to see that the developed and the educated in every society are always a small minority. It follows that the success and spiritual well-being of society is bottled and sealed in the hands of the minority.

Therefore, the many is obliged to meticulously guard all the views of the few, so they will not perish from the world. This is because they must know for certain, in complete confidence, that the truer and more developed views are never in the hands of the many in authority, but rather in the hands of the weakest, that is, in the hands of the indistinguishable minority. This is because every wisdom and everything precious comes into the world in small quantities. Therefore, we are cautioned to preserve the views of all the individuals, due to the many’s inability to tell wrong from right among them.

Criticism brings success, lack of criticism causes decadence

We must further add that reality presents to our eyes material things, convictions, and ideas with regard to the aforementioned matter which are drastically different. For the matter of social unity, which can be the source of every joy and success, applies particularly among bodies and bodily matters in people, and the separation between them is the source of every calamity and misfortune.

But with convicitons and ideas, it is the complete opposite: unity and lack of criticism is deemed the source of every failure and hindrance to all the progress and didactic fertilization. This is because drawing the right conclusions depends particularly on the multiplicity of disagreements and separation between opinions. The more contradictions there are between opinions and the more criticism there is, the more the knowledge and wisdom increase and matters become more suitable for examination and clarification.

The degeneration and failure of intelligence stem only from the lack of criticism and disagreement. Thus, evidently, the whole basis of physical success is the measure of unity of the society, and the basis for the success of intelligence and knowledge is the separation and disagreement among them.

It turns out that when humankind achieves its goal, with respect to the success of the bodies, by bringing them to the rung of complete love of others, all the bodies in the world will unite into a single body and a single heart, as written in Peace. Only then will all the happiness intended for humanity become revealed in all its glory.

But against that, we must be watchful to not bring the views of people so close that disagreement and criticism might be terminated from among the wise and scholarly, for the love of the body naturally brings with it proximity of views. And should criticism and disagreement vanish, all progress in convictions and ideas will cease, too, and the source of knowledge in the world will dry out.

This is the proof of the obligation to caution with the freedom of the individual regarding convicitons and ideas. For the whole development of the wisdom and knowledge is based on that freedom of the individual. Thus, we are cautioned to preserve it very carefully, so each and every form within us, which we call “individual,” that is, the particular force of a single person, generally named the “desire to receive.”

Ancestral heritage

All the details of the pictures that this desire to receive includes, which we have defined as the “source,” or the first reason, whose meaning includes all the inclinations and customs inherited from his ancestors, which we picture as a long chain of thousands of people who once were alive, and who stand one atop of the other. Each of them is an essential drop of his ancestors, and that drop brings each person all the spiritual possessions of his ancestors into his medulla oblongata (the elongated brain), called “subconscious.” Thus, the individual before us has, in his subconscious, all the thousands of spiritual legacies from all the individuals represented in that chain, which are his ancestors.

Thus, just as the face of each and every person differs, so their views differ. There are no two people on earth whose opinions are identical, because each person has a great and sublime possession inherited from his ancestors, and which others have no shred of.

Therefore, all those possessions are considered the individual’s property, and society is cautioned to preserve its flavor and spirit so as to not be blurred by its environment. Rather, each individual should maintain the integrity of his inheritance. Then, the contradiction and oppositeness between them will remain forever, to forever secure the criticism and progress of the wisdom, which is humanity’s advantage and its true eternal favor.

And after we have come to a certain measure of recognition in man’s selfishness, which we have determined as a force and a “desire to receive,” being the essential point of the bare being, we have also made thoroughly clear, from all sides, the original possession of each body, which we have defined as “ancestral heritage.” This pertains to all the potential inclinations and qualities that have come into his “source” by inheritance, which is the first substance of every person, that is, the initial seed of his ancestors. Now we shall clarify the two aspects in the desire to receive.

Two aspects: potential and actual

First, we must understand that although this selfishness, which we have defined as the “desire to receive,” is the very essence of man, it cannot exist in reality even for a second. For what we call “potential,” meaning before it emerges from potential to actual, exists only in our thought, meaning that only the thought can determine it.

But in fact, there cannot be any real force in the world that is dormant and inactive. This is because the force exists in reality only while it is revealed in action. By the same token, you cannot say about an infant that it is very strong when it cannot lift even the lightest weight, but you can say that you see in that infant that when it grows, it will manifest great strength.

However, we do say that that strength we find in man when he is grown was present in his organs and his body even when he was an infant, but that strength had been concealed and was not apparent. It is true that in our minds we could determine (the powers destined to manifest), since the mind asserts it. However, in the infant’s actual body there is certainly no strength at all, since no strength manifests in the infant’s actions.

So it is with appetite. This force will not appear in a man’s body in the actual reality, when the organs cannot eat, meaning when he is satiated. But even when one is satiated, the force of appetite exists, but it is concealed in man’s body. After some time, when the food had been digested, it reappears and manifests from potential to actual.

However, such a sentence, of determining a potential force that has not yet been revealed in actual fact, belongs to the conducts by which the thought perceives. But it does not exist in reality, since when satiated, we feel very clearly that the force of appetite is gone, and if you search for it, you will find it nowhere.

It turns out that we cannot display a potential as a subject that exists in and of itself, but only as a predicate. Thus, when an action occurs in reality, at that time the force manifests in the action.

Yet, we necessarily find two things here, in the perceiving process: a subject and a predicate, that is, potential and actual, such as the force of appetite, which is the subject, and the image of the dish, which is the predicate and the action. In reality, however, they come as one. It will never occur that the force of appetite will appear in a person without picturing the dish he wishes to eat. Thus, these are two halves of the same thing. The force of appetite must dress in that image. You therefore see that the subject and the predicate are presented at once, and become absent at once.

Now we understand that the desire to receive, which we presented as selfishness, does not mean that it exists so in a person, as a craving force that wishes to receive in the form of a passive predicate. Rather, this pertains to the subject, which dresses in the image of the eatable object, and whose operation appears in the form of the thing being eaten, and in which it clothes. We call that action, “desire,” meaning the power of appetite, revealed in the action of the imagination.

And so it is with our topic—the general desire to receive, which is the very essence of man. It appears and exists only through dressing in the shapes of objects that are likely to be received. For then it exists as the subject, and in no other way. We call that action, “life,” meaning man’s livelihood, which means that the force of the desire to receive dresses and acts within the desired objects. And the measurement of revelation of that action is the measurement of his life, as we have explained in the act we call, “desire.”

Two formations: the human and the living soul  

From the above, we can clearly understand the verse then YHWH God fashioned the human, humus from the soil, and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the human became נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה (nefesh ḥayah), a living soul (Genesis 2:7). Here we find two creations: the human himself and the living soul itself.

And the verse says in the beginning, the human, humus from the soil—a collection of molecules in which resides the human essence, meaning his desire to receive. That force, the desire to receive, is present in every element of reality, as we have explained above. Also, all four types: mineral, vegetable, animal and human emerged from them. In that respect, the human has no advantage over any part of creation, and this is the meaning of the verse in the words: hummus from the soil.

However, we have already seen that this power, called “desire to receive,” cannot exist without enclothing and acting in, on a desired object, and this action is called, Life. And accordingly, we find that before man has arrived at the human forms of receiving pleasure, which differ from those of other animals, he is still considered a lifeless, dead person. This is because his desire to receive has no place in which to enclothe and manifest his actions, which are the manifestations of life.

This is the meaning of the verse, and blew into his nostrils נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים (nishmat ḥayyim), the breath of life (Genesis 2:7) which is the general form of reception set for the human. And the word נִשְׁמַת (nishmat), breath, is cognate with, שָׂמִין (samin), ‘setting, the ground for him,’ which is like עֵרֶך (erekh), value. And the source of the word נְשָׁמָה (neshamah), soul, is discerned from: God’s spirit has made me, and Shaddai’s נִשְׁמַת (nishmat), breath, has quickened me (Job 33:4). And see the commentary of the Malbim [Rabbi Me’ir Weisser] there: נְשָׁמָה (Neshamah), soul, has the same syntax structure as נִפקָד (nifqad), missing, נֶאְשָׁם (ne’esham), accused, and נֶאֱשְׁמָה (ne’eshmah), accused.

And the meaning of the words, and blew into his nostrils (Genesis 2:7), is that He instills a נְשָׁמָה (neshamah), soul, in his internality and an appreciation of life, which is the sum of the forms that are worthy of reception into his desire to receive. Then, that power, the desire to receive, inhering in his very molecules, has found the place in which to enclothe and act, meaning in those forms of reception that he had obtained from the blessed Holy One. And this act is called Life, as we have explained above.

And the verse ends, and the human became a living creature. This means that since the desire to receive has begun to act by the measures of those forms of reception, life instantly manifested in it and it a living creature. However, prior to the attainment of those forms of reception, although the power of the desire to receive had been embedded in him, it is still considered a lifeless body, since it has no place in which to appear and to manifest in action.

As we have seen above, although man’s essence is only the desire to receive, it is still taken as half of a whole, as it must enclothe in a reality that comes its way. For that reason, it and the image of possession it depicts are literally one, for otherwise it would not be able to exist for even a moment.

Therefore, when the machine of the body is at its peak, that is, until his middle-age, his “ego” stands upright in all the height embedded in him at birth. Because of that, he feels within him a large and powerful measure of the desire to receive. In other words, he craves great wealth and honor, and anything that comes his way. This is so because of the perfection of man’s ego, which attracts shapes of structures and convictions that it enclothes in and sustains itself through them.

But when half his life is through, begin the days of the decline, which, by their content, are his dying days. This is because a person does not die in an instant, just as he did not receive his life in an instant. Rather his candle, being his ego, withers and dies bit by bit, and along with it die the images of the possessions he wishes to receive.

He begins to relinquish many possessions he had dreamed of in his youth, and he gradually relinquishes great possessions, according to his decline over the years. Finally, in his truly old days, when the shadow of death hovers over all his being, a person finds himself in “times of no appeal,” since his desire to receive, his ego, has withered away. Only a tiny spark of it remains, hidden from the eye, from enclothing in some possession. Therefore, there is no appeal or hope in those days for any image of reception.

Thus, we have proven that the desire to receive, along with the image of the object expected to be received, are one and the same thing. And their manifestation is equal, their stature is equal, and so is the length of their lives.

However, there is a significant distinction here in the form of the yielding at the time of the decline of life. That yielding is not a result of satiation, like a person who relinquishes food when he is satiated, but a result of despair. In other words, when the ego begins to die during the days of decline, it senses its own weakness and approaching death. Therefore, a person lets go and gives up on the dreams and hopes of his youth.

Observe carefully the difference between that and the yielding due to satiation, which causes no grief and cannot be called “partial death,” but is like a worker who completed his work. Indeed, relinquishment out of despair is full of pain and sorrow, and can therefore be called, “partial death.”

Freedom from the angel of death

Now, after all that we have learned, we find a way to truly understand the words of our sages when they said, “‘Harut (carved) on the stones,’ do not pronounce it Harut (carved), but rather Herut (freedom), for they have been liberated from the angel of death.”

It has been explained in Giving Torah and The Pledge, that prior to the giving of the Torah, they had assumed the relinquishment of any private property to the extent expressed in the words, a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6) and the purpose of the whole of Creation—to cling to Him in parity of form with Him: As He bestows and does not receive, they, too, will give and not receive. This is the last rung of דְבֵקוּת (devequt), cleaving, expressed in the words, and a holy nation (ibid.), as is written at the end of The Pledge.

I have already brought you to realize that man’s essence, meaning his selfishness, defined as the desire to receive, is only half a thing, and can only exist when enclothed in some image of a possession or hope for possession. For only then is our matter complete, and can be called “man’s essence.”

Thus, when the Children of Israel were rewarded with total cleaving on that holy occasion, their vessels of reception were completely emptied of any worldly possession and they clung to Him in parity of form. This means that they did not have any desire for any self-possession, but only to the extent that they could bestow contentment, so their Maker would delight in them.

And since their desire to receive had enclothed in an image of that object, it had enclothed in it and bonded with it into complete oneness. Therefore, they were certainly liberated from the angel of death, for death is necessarily an absence and negation of the existence of a certain object. But only while there is a spark that wishes to exist for its own pleasure is it possible to say about it that that spark does not exist because it has become absent and died.

However, if there is no such spark in man, but all the sparks of his essence clothe in bestowal of contentment upon their Maker, then it is neither absent nor dead. For even when the body is annulled, it is only annulled with respect to self-gratification, in which the desire to receive is dressed and can only exist in it.

However, when he achieves the purpose of Creation and the Creator receives pleasure from him, since His will is done, man’s essence, which clothes in His contentment, is granted complete eternity, like Him. Thus, he has been rewarded with freedom from the angel of death. This is the meaning of the words of the Midrash “They are liberated from the Angel of Death” (Shemot Rabbah 41:7). And in the Mishnah “And the tablets, God’s doing they were, and the writing, God’s writing it was, inscribed on the tablets (Exodus 32:16). Do not read חָרוּת (ḥarut), inscribed, but חֵרוּת (ḥerut), freedom, for the only person who is truly free is one who occupies himself with Torah study; and whoever occupies himself with Torah study will be exalted” (M Avot 6:2).

Providence According to Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag (Ba’al ha-Sullam)


But your crimes have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear (Isaiah 59:2).

Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot (45–66):

When we closely examine the attainment of providence which people come to sense we find four classes. Each class receives individual providence by the blessed Holy One. In fact, there are only two such classes: הַסְתֵּר פָּנִים (ha-seter panim), the hiding Face, and גִלוּי פָּנִים (gilui panim), the revealed Face, but they are divided into four facets.

There are two facets in providence of the hiding Face, which are “single hiding” and “hiding within the hiding,” and two facets in the providence of the revealed Face: providence of “reward and punishment,” and “eternal providence.”

The verse says: And My wrath will flare against them on that day, and I shall forsake them and hide My face from them, and they will become fodder, and many evils and troubles will find them, and they will say on that day, ‘Is it not because our God is not in our midst that these evils have found us?’ And as for Me, I will surely hide My face on that day for all the evil that they have done, for they turned to other gods (Deuteronomy 31:17–18) [cf. Psalms 104:29; Zohar 1:115a (MhN) ad loc.].

When you investigate these words, you find that in the beginning it says, And My wrath will flare… and I shall… hide My face—a single hiding. Afterwards, it says, and many evils and troubles will find them… and… I will surely hide My face [lit., הַסְתֵּר אַסְתִּיר (ha-seter astir), hide, I will hide…]—a double hiding. We must understand what “double hiding” is.

First we must understand the meaning of the “face” of the blessed Holy One, as is written, I shall hide My face. This is like a man who sees his friend’s face and recognizes him immediately. However, when he sees him from behind he is not sure of his identity. He wonders, saying “Perhaps he is not my friend.”

So too the matter before us: Everyone knows and senses that the blessed Holy One is good and that it is the conduct of the Good to do good. Therefore, when the blessed Holy One gives generously to His creatures, His face is regarded as revealed. This is because then everyone knows and senses Him, since He acts according to His name, as we have seen above concerning revealed providence [on “The Good who does good,” see BT Ta’anit 31a; Birkhat ha-Mazon].

Yet, when He acts with His creatures contrary to what we said above, meaning when they suffer affliction and torment in His world, it is regarded as the blessed Holy One’s “back.” This is because His face, meaning His quality of utter goodness, is entirely hidden from them, since this is not the conduct that befits His name. It is like a person who sees his friend from behind and may doubt, thinking “Perhaps he is another?”

It is written, And My wrath will flare… and I shall… hide My face. During the wrath, when people suffer trouble and pain, it means that the blessed Holy One is hiding His face, which is His utter goodness, and only His “back” is revealed. Then, great strengthening in one’s trust is needed to be vigilant against contemplating transgression, perish the thought, since it is difficult to recognize Him from behind. This is called “the first hiding.”

However, when troubles and grief accumulate to a great extent, it causes a second hiding, which the books call הַסְתֵּר בְּתוֹך הַסְתֵּר (ha-seter betokh ha-seter), “hiding within the hiding.” It means that even His back is unseen, perish the thought, meaning they do not believe that the blessed Holy One is angry with them and punishes them, but ascribe this to chance and nature, and come to deny His providence in reward and punishment. This is the meaning of, And as for Me, I will surely hide My face… for they turned to other gods—they speak heresy and turn to idol worshiping.

However, before that, when the verse speaks only from the perspective of one hiding, the verse ends, and they will say on that day, ‘Is it not because our God is not in our midst that these evils have found us?’ Meaning they still trust in the providence of reward and punishment, and say that the troubles and grief befall them because they do not cleave to the blessed Holy One, as is written, ‘Is it not because our God is not in our midst that these evils have found us?’ This is a facet of seeing the blessed Holy One, but only from behind. For that reason it is called “the first hiding,” merely hiding of the Face.

Now we have explained the two facets of apprehending hidden providence which people sense: “the first hiding” and “hiding within the hiding.” The first hiding relates only to hiding of the Face, while the back is revealed. This means that they trust that the blessed Holy One gave them the affliction as a punishment. And although it is hard for them to always know the blessed Holy One by His back, which causes them to transgress, even then they are considered “not completely wicked” [see BT Qiddushin 40b; Zohar 3:111a (RM)]. In other words, these transgressions are akin to being unintentional, because they befall them due to the increase in suffering, since, in general, they trust in reward and punishment.

“Hiding within the hiding” means that even the back of the blessed Holy One is hidden from them, as they do not trust in reward and punishment. Look, the transgressions in their hands are regarded as intentional wickedness. They are called “completely wicked” because they rebel and say that the blessed Holy One does not watch over His creatures at all, and turn to idolatry, as is written, for they turned to other gods, perish the thought.

We must know that the entire matter of the labor in keeping Torah and mitsvot by way of [freedom of] choice is mainly practiced according to the two aforementioned facets of hidden providence. And of that time: “Son of Heh-Heh said: According to the effort is the reward” (M Avot 5:26).

Since His providence is not revealed, it is impossible to see Him but only in hiding of the Face, from behind, as one who sees his friend from behind and may doubt and think he is another. In this way, the choice is always in the hands of man, either to fulfill the blessed Holy One’s will, or, perish the thought, to transgress it. This is because the troubles and the grief he suffers make him doubt the reality of His providence over His creatures, whether in the first facet—unintentional transgression; or in the second facet—intentional wickedness.

In any case, one is still in great pain and labor. Of this time it is written: All that your hand manages to do with your strength, do (Ecclesiastes 9:10). This is so because he will not be granted revealing the Face, the full degree of His goodness, before he exerts himself and does whatever is in his power to do, and “According to the effort is the reward.”

Indeed, after the blessed Holy One sees that man has completed his degree of attainment and completed all that he had to do with the power of his choice and his strengthening in trust of the blessed Holy One, he is assisted by Him and receives the attainment of revealed providence. Then, he is rewarded with perfect repentance, meaning he cleaves to the blessed Holy One once more with his heart, soul, and might [see recitation of Shema], as though drawn by itself in regard to the attainment of the revealed providence.

The above attainment and repentance come to a man by two rungs: The first is the attainment of providence according to absolute reward and punishment. Besides attaining the reward of each mitsvah in the world that is coming in utter clarity, he is also rewarded with the immediate attainment of wondrous pleasure in performing the mitsvah in this world.

Moreover, besides attaining the bitter punishment that extends from every transgression after his death, so too he is rewarded with sensing the bitter taste of every transgression while still alive.

Naturally, one who is imparted this revealed providence is certain that he will not offend again, just as one is quite sure he will not cut his own flesh and cause himself terrible suffering. In addition, one is certain that he will not neglect a mitsvah without performing it the instant it comes to his hand, as much as one is certain that he will not neglect any pleasure in this world or a great profit that comes to his hand.

Now you can understand the words of our Sages: What is repentance like? When the One who knows hidden things testifies about him that he will never return to his folly again [see Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Teshuva, 2]. These are seemingly perplexing words, for who would rise to the heavens to hear the testimony of the blessed Holy One? Also, before whom should the blessed Holy One testify? Is it not enough that the blessed Holy One Himself knows that the person repented and will not offend again?

From the explanation, the matter becomes quite clear. In truth, one is not absolutely certain that he will not offend again before he is rewarded with the aforementioned attainment of reward and punishment, meaning revealing the Face. And this revealing of the Face, from the perspective of the blessed Holy One’s rescue, is called עֵדוּת (edut), “testimony,” since His rescue in itself, the attainment of reward and punishment, assures him that he will no longer offend.

It is therefore considered that the blessed Holy One testifies for him. It is written, “What is repentance like?” In other words, when will one be certain that he has been granted perfect repentance? For this, one is given a clear sign: “When the One who knows hidden things testifies about him that he will never return to his folly again.” This means that he will attain revealing the Face, at which time his own rescue testifies that he will not return to folly.

This aforementioned repentance is called “repentance from fear.” This is because although he returns to the blessed Holy One with his heart and soul, until He who knows all mysteries testifies that he will not turn back to folly, that certainty that he will not offend again is due to his attainment and sensation of the terrible punishment and agony as a result of the transgressions. Because of that, he is certain that he will not offend, just as he is quite sure that he will not afflict himself with horrible suffering.

However, in the end, these repentances and certainty are only because of the fear of punishment that extends from the transgressions. It turns out that one’s repentance is only for fear of punishment. Because of that, it is called “repentance from fear.”

With this we understand the words of our Sages: One who repents from fear is rewarded with his intentional wickedness being unintentional [see BT Yoma 86b]. We must understand how this happens. According to what was said above, you can thoroughly understand that the offences one commits reach him from the reception of providence through a double hiding, namely “hiding within the hiding.” This means that one does not trust in providence of reward and punishment.

A single hiding means that he trusts in the providence of reward and punishment. Yet, due to the increase in suffering, he sometimes comes to thoughts of transgression. This is because even though he believes that the suffering came to him as a punishment, he is still like one who sees his friend from behind, and might doubt and mistake him for another. And these offences are only unintentional, since, as a whole, he trusts in providence of reward and punishment.

Hence, when one is granted repentance from fear, meaning a clear attainment of reward and punishment until he is certain that he will not offend again, the “hiding within the hiding” is entirely corrected in him. This is because now he sees evidently there is providence of reward and punishment. It is clear to him that all the suffering he had ever felt was a punishment from His providence for the offences he committed. In retrospect, he made a grave error. Hence, he uproots the intentional wickedness.

However, this is not entirely so, since they [still] become unintentional. In other words, it is like the transgressions he committed under one hiding, when he failed because of the confusion that came to him due to the multitude of torments that drive a person out of his mind. These are only regarded as unintentional.

Yet, according to this repentance, he did not at all correct the first hiding of the Face, which he had had before, but only from now on after he has attained revealing of the Face. In the past, however, before he had attained repentance, the hiding of the Face and all the unintentional offences remained as they were, without any change or repair whatsoever. This is so because then, too, he believed that the troubles and the suffering came to him as punishment, as is written, and they will say on that day, ‘Is it not because our God is not in our midst that these evils have found us?’

Therefore, he is still considered “not perfectly righteous” (BT Qiddushin 40b) because one who is awarded with revealing the Face, namely the full degree of His goodness, as befits His Name, is called “righteous.” This is so because he justifies His providence as it truly is, that He is utterly good and perfect with His creatures, that He is good to the good and to the bad.

Hence, since he has been awarded with revealing the Face, from here on he merits the name “righteous.” However, since he has not completed the correction, but only “hiding with the hiding,” and has not corrected the first hiding, but only from here on, that time, before he was awarded repentance, still does not merit the name “righteous.” This is because then he is left with the hidding Face, as before. For this reason, he is called “not completely righteous,” meaning one who still needs to correct his past.

He is also called “intermediate” (BT Qiddushin 40b), since after he attains repentance from fear he becomes qualified, through his completion in Torah and mitsvot, to attain repentance from love, as well. Then one attains being “completely righteous.” Hence, now one is the medium between Fear and Love, and is therefore called “intermediate.” However, prior to that, he was not completely qualified to even prepare himself for repentance from love.

This thoroughly explains the first rung of attainment of revealing the Face, the attainment and sensation of providence of reward and punishment in a way that “The One who knows hidden things testifies about him that he will never return to his folly again.” This is called “repentance from fear,” when his intentional wickedness becomes unintentional. This is also called “not perfectly righteous” and “intermediate.”

Now we shall explain the second rung of attaining revealing of the Face, which is the attainment of the complete, true, and eternal providence. It means that the blessed Holy One watches over His creations according to “The Good that does good to the good and to the bad.” Now one is regarded as “perfectly righteous” and “repentance from love,” when one is granted turning his intentional wickedness to merits [see BT Yoma 86b].

This explains all four facets of providence that pertain to the creatures. The first three facets, double hiding, single hiding, and attainment of providence of reward and punishment are but preparations by which one attains the fourth facet, which is the attainment of true, eternal providence.

But we have yet to understand why the third facet is not enough for a person, namely attainment of the providence of reward and punishment. We said that he has already been rewarded with “He who knows all hidden things” testifying that he will not offend again. Hence, why is he still called “intermediate” or “not perfectly righteous,” indicating that his service is still not desirable in the eyes of the blessed Holy One, and there is still a flaw and blemish in his Torah and service?

First, let us scrutinize what the commentators asked about the mitsvah of loving the blessed Holy One. How did the holy Torah oblige us to a mitsvah that we cannot keep at all? One can coerce and enslave oneself to anything, but no coercion or enslavement in the world will help with love.

They explained that by keeping all 612 mitsvot properly, love of the blessed Holy One emanates to him on its own. Hence, it is considered possible to observe, since one can enslave and coerce himself to keep the 612 mitsvot appropriately, and then he will also attain love of the blessed Holy One.

Hiding and Revealing the Face by Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag (Ba’al ha-Sullam)

canva-photo-editorYHWH, in your pleasure You made me stand mountain-strong.—When You hid Your face, I was stricken (Psalms 30:8).

One portrait of the hiding

The blessed Holy One’s face is not revealed, that is, He does not act with one according to His name “The Good who does good” (Birkhat ha-Mazon) [cf. BT Ta’anit 31a]. Rather, to the contrary: he is afflicted by Him, suffers from a poor livelihood, and many wish to collect their debts from him and embitter his life. His entire day is filled with nothing but trouble and worry. He suffers from poor health and is disrespected by people. Any undertaking he starts he fails to finish, and he is constantly frustrated.

In this manner, of course he does not see the blessed Holy One’s good face, that is, if he believes that the blessed Holy One does these things to him, either as punishment for transgressions or to ultimately reward him. This follows the verse, For who YHWH loves He rebukes (Proverbs 3:12), and also, “The righteous begins with suffering” (Naḥmanides on Genesis 27:29), since the blessed Holy One wishes to eventually bestow abundant peace on him [cf. Psalms 126:5: They who sow in tears in glad song will reap; Zohar 2:187a: ‘All beginnings are hard, and their endings soft’].

Yet, he does not fail by exclaiming that all this befell him according to blind fate and nature without any reckoning or knowledge. Rather, he strengthens his trust in the blessed Holy One, whose providence caused him all this. Nevertheless, this is considered seeing the blessed Holy One’s back.

A second portrait of the hiding

The books refer to הַסְתֵּר בְּתוֹך הַסְתֵּר (ha-seter betokh ha-seter), “hiding within the hiding,” meaning one cannot see even the back of the blessed Holy One. Instead, he exclaims that the blessed Holy One has left him and no longer watches over him. He ascribes all the sufferings he feels to blind fate and to nature, since the ways of providence become exceedingly tangled in his eyes that they lead him to denial [of the blessed Holy One], perish the thought. This means that he prays and gives charity for his troubles but is not answered whatsoever. And precisely when he stops praying for his troubles, he is answered. Whenever he perseveres, trusts in providence, and improves his deeds, success turns away from him and he mercilessly declines. And when he abandons [the blessed Holy One] and begins to regress in his deeds, he becomes very successful and is greatly relieved [cf. Zohar 3:276b (RM)].

He does not find livelihood in a proper way, but through deceit or desecration of the Sabbath, and so on. All of his acquaintances who are masters of Torah and mitsvot suffer poverty, illness, and are despised by people. People who keep mitsvot seem to him lacking in דֶּרֶךְ אֶרֶץ (derekh erets), common decency, born fools, and so hypocritical that he cannot tolerate their company for even a moment [cf. M Avot 2:2].

But all his wicked acquaintances, who mock his faithfulness, are very successful, well to do, and healthy. They know no illness, are clever, virtuous, and well-mannered. They are without worry, confident, and calm the whole day, perpetually.

And when providence arranges things in this way for a man, it is called “hiding within the hiding.” For then, perish the thought, he collapses under his weight and cannot persevere in the trust that his suffering comes from the blessed Holy One for some indiscernible reason. Finally he fails, becomes a heretic, and, perish the thought, says that the blessed Holy One does not watch over His creatures whatsoever, and all that befalls him transpires according to blind fate and nature. This is not seeing even the back.

A portrait of revealing the Face

However, once he has completely revealed the תַבלִין (tavlin), spice—the light of Torah—which man inhales into his body by his strengthening of trust in the blessed Holy One, he becomes worthy of providence with His face revealed. This means that the blessed Holy One acts with him as  befits His name, “The Good who does good.”

He discovers that he receives abundant goodness and great peace from the blessed Holy One and is always satisfied. For he obtains his livelihood with ease and to the fullest, never experiencing trouble or pressure, knows no illness, is highly respected by people, effortlessly accomplishes any plan that enters his mind, and succeeds wherever he turns.

When he wishes for something, he prays and he is instantaneously answered, as He always answers anything that he demands of Him, and not a single prayer is denied. When he strengthens his good deeds, he succeeds even more, and when he is negligent, his success decreases proportionally.

All of his acquaintances are honest, have a good livelihood and good health. They are highly respected in the eyes of people and have no worries at all. They are at peace all day, perpetually. They are smart, men of truth, possess a good appearance, and he feels blessed to be in their midst. But all of his acquaintances who do not follow the way of Torah have a poor livelihood, are burdened by heavy debts, and fail to find even a single moment’s rest. They suffer illness in pain, and are loathsome in the eyes of people. They seem to him inane, lacking in common decency, wicked, cruel, and flatterers full of lies such that it is intolerable to keep their company.

His blessed Name shows us that He is good and does good to all His creatures in every manner of benefit, and sufficient for every type among Israel. Certainly, the pleasure of one is not like the pleasure of another. For example, one who engages in wisdom will not take pleasure in honor and wealth, and one who does not engage in wisdom will not take pleasure in great attainment and innovating in wisdom. Thus, He gives wealth and honor to one, and wondrous attainment in wisdom to another.

A man’s demand to become stronger in his trust in the blessed Holy One’s providence over the world during a time of hiding brings him to murmur in books of Torah [cf. Psalms 1:2: But YHWH’s teaching is his desire, and His teaching he murmurs day and night], and to take from there the insight and understanding of how to strengthen his trust in His providence. The insights that he receives are called תוֹרָה תַבלִין (torah tavlin), “antidote of Torah,” until they reach a certain measure, when the blessed Holy One has compassion on him and pours upon him the spirit from on high—supernal abundance.

In summary: A portrait of hiding the Face

  1. Suffering torments such as lack of livelihood, poor health, humiliations, failing to achieve plans, personal doubt, such that he keeps himself from troubling his companion.
  2. Praying without being answered. When he improves his deeds he declines, but when he regresses in his deeds he is very successful. There is no chance of earning a living in a proper way, only through deceit and theft, or by desecrating the Sabbath.
  3. All of his honest acquaintances suffer poverty, ill health, and humiliations of all kinds, and his wicked acquaintances mock him everyday and are successful, healthy, wealthy, and lead carefree lives.
  4. All of his righteous acquaintances who keep Torah and mitsvot seem cruel, egotistical, backwards, born fools, lacking in common decency, and great hypocrites. He finds them repulsive and cannot tolerate their company for a moment, even if in a veritable Garden of Eden.

A portrait of revealing the Face

  1. Receiving good, abundant peace, and earning his livelihood with ease and to the fullest. He never feels stress or ill health, he is respected wherever he turns, and successfully and easily accomplishes any plan that enters his mind.
  2. When he prays, he is answered immediately. When he improves his deeds, he is very successful, and if he regresses in his deeds, he loses his success.
  3. All his acquaintances who walk along the upright path are wealthy, healthy, know no sickness, are highly respected in the eyes of the world, and dwell in peace and quiet. His acquaintances who do not walk along the upright path are without livelihood, filled with troubles, grief, illness, and are loathsome in the eyes of people.
  4. He regards all his righteous acquaintances as clever, reasonable, well-mannered, men of truth, and possessing of a good appearance such that it is a great pleasure to be in their company.