Havoc in Modern-Day Babylon
The idea of unity among all human beings is no more to us than an imaginary children’s story. Back in babylon, someone had a way for humanity to unite. Today, our world needs such a method more than ever
“…we are like a pile of nuts, assembled by a wraparound bag. That level of unity does not turn them into an
integrated body. Every slight movement of the bag makes them swing and separate from each other. They, in turn, partially join and unite anew. And all that they lack is the natural unification from within. Any force of unification is due to an external incident. This is very saddening.”
Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam),
HaUma (The Nation)
Unity. That is what we experience from time to time, in moments that bring us together as a people. We celebrate the Jewish holidays, each in our own way, and we share many collective experiences rooted in our culture.
But such experiences are not enough to grant us a real sense of a unified people. As Baal HaSulam allegorically puts it, to the onlooker we may seem like nuts in a bag, united only by the cloth that holds us together. Any knock from the outside wiggles the contents to and fro, and when pressed, they unite. When nothing pressures them from the outside, they remain apart.
Obviously, this kind of unity does not really make us feel as one.
What Turns People into a People?
231 years ago, the United States declared its independence. Its residents came from all over Europe, Africa, and Asia. They were Jews, Christians, and others from many religions and nationalities, and they all left their homelands to move to the “land of unlimited opportunities.”
These people, separated by language, faith, and culture, had one thing in common—a burning desire for a new and brighter future. Thus, they bridged their differences and went on to establish a vast trade system.
Unlike the United States, where people of diverse nations gathered largely to establish a country based on profitability and benefit, European countries were based on a common ethnic background. England, France, Russia, Germany, and other countries, were comprised of tribes of the same race. For those countries, one’s common origin was the uniting force.
It is easy to think that Jews, too, share a common origin. However, genetically speaking, there is no "Jewish gene."
A Different Kind of Unity
To understand what “the Jewish people” is based on, we need to make a short trip to Babylon about 5,000 years ago. Mesopotamia, and especially its capital, Babylon, was a melting pot much like today’s New York City. In fact, in many ways, Mesopotamia is the cradle of civilization. Back then, humanity was built as an aggregate of clans. An instinctive, animal-like closeness made people feel very close to one another, as with kin.
But as time went by, human egoism intensified and began to turn people away from one another, to alienate them. People became increasingly concentrated on self-interest, ignoring the needs of others. After some time, exploitation and hatred appeared.
One of the Babylonians was able to see how humanity, once a warm family, was turning into a lions' den. But this was not all that he saw. Abraham realized that beneath its egoistic surface, humanity was, in fact, a single, collective entity, like cells in a body.
Abraham understood a crucial point: once humanity transcends egoism and reunites into a single entity, it will match the inclusive force of love that binds all parts of Creation—the Creator.
Armed with this new perception, Abraham began to develop a method capable of allowing all people to transcend their egos and connect to the Creator. However, few of Abraham’s contemporaries expressed any zeal to correct their egos. The minority that did follow his method would actually become the first group of Kabbalists in history. Ultimately, this group grew into what we now know as “the people of Israel.”
Why were they called “Israel”? Ysrael (Israel) is a combination of two words: Yashar (straight) and El (God). Thus, Israel means “Straight to God.” The name implies the essence of the unity among the people of Israel: a profound, eternal bond that connects them to Nature itself, beyond race, nationality, or personal considerations.
Away from the Public Eye
Since human egoism continued growing to new highs (or lows), the people of Israel gradually lost their unity, as well as their bonding with the inclusive Nature, the Creator. This happened in two stages called "the ruin of the first, and second Temples."
Eventually, only a select few were left who could sense of the immensity of Nature. And for approximately two millennia, away from the public eye, these people, whom we call “Kabbalists,” continued to develop Abraham’s correction method and adapt it to humanity’s (still) growing ego.
Consequently, over the years, authentic Kabbalah has become shrouded in mystery, immersed in misconceptions, and, as of late, tainted by commercialism.
Kabbalists have been preparing the method for a time when humanity would reach the height of egoism. At that point, it would be ready and willing to use Kabbalah as a correction method, and as nothing else. Now, the time has come.
Living in Modern-Day Babylon
Today, our lives are not much different from those who lived in ancient Babylon. Admittedly, we have a variety of foods, clothes, high-tech communication, high-speed transportation and whatnot. And yet, our world is swamped by corruption, hatred, segregation, terrorism, and other forms of menace. We have become so “sobered up” by hatred and pain, and so cynical, that ideals like "love of man" sound absurd, if not inconceivable.
The more the global crisis escalates, the more accusatory fingers will be pointing at the Jews. The reasoning is rather simple: Nature pulls all of its parts into unification, like a magnet at the center of its field. But to be drawn towards the middle, we need to implement the correction, or bonding method, developed and guarded by Israel. As long as we are not using our correction method, all of humanity remains stranded, and the tension between where we should be and where we actually are will continue to grow. As a result, consciously or not, other nations are driven to impel Israel to move.
We Jews must recognize the merit of the wisdom we possess and put it into practice. The authentic wisdom of Kabbalah has nothing to do with any kind of mysticism or belief. It is rather a systematic method, imprinted in Nature itself, aimed at elevating humanity to its next evolutionary phase.
When we find within us the desire to revive our inner unity, we will discover the natural love that awaits all human beings, the kind of love we are intended to dispense throughout the world. In the words of Prophet Isaiah, we will be “a light of the nations."