Happy New Year - Official Kabbalah Publication of the Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute
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Happy New Year

The coming year may well be the time when the people of Israel understand why they were named “the chosen people.” When that happens, we will no longer have to fear war or threats

In recent years, the popular attitude towards Kabbalah has shifted dramatically. People are no longer intimidated by it. Instead, they are much more willing to put their reservations about Kabbalah behind, as they discover that its wisdom is nothing like they originally thought it to be.

Kabbalah is not about charms or mysticism; it does, however, contain an intrinsic code that is tightly connected to everyone's future. Using it, we can change our future and realize ourselves as complete spiritual beings. This is what makes Kabbalah worth examining.

The beginning of this revolution dates back to 1995. In that year, something happened in the world, something shifted, and the ideas of Kabbalah began to appeal to many. Even people who did not know it and did not claim to understand it, people who were physically remote from Israel, began to take an interest in Kabbalah. Today, Kabbalah has become the center of attention for many people and has achieved new levels of popularity.

The great Kabbalist, Rabbi Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), author of the Sulam commentary on The Book of Zohar, writes that the lights of each holiday can bring us much closer to the purpose of our lives. This is why introspection in Elul, the last month of the Jewish year, can be very helpful.

According to Kabbalah, the whole of humanity is in a very special phase: it is approaching a state of “global introspection.” People are beginning to realize that thousands of years of evolution have not produced anything of true merit; they are growing tired and despaired. Even the younger generation is bored and tired before their lives have really begun. Seeking new stimulation, they decline to drug abuse and want to forget about life.

But this is precisely the kind of state that can create fertile ground for poignant introspection, beginning with the question, “What am I really living for?” Today, we no longer chase every goal society declares “worthwhile,” or pursue goals offered by our teachers or suggested in books. Instead, we find ourselves increasingly alone with ourselves.

This process is occurring because human egoism has increased to a point where each of us feels totally isolated, despite the seven billion people around us. Hence, introspection can now become extremely effective for us.

Our current questions concern not only mundane issues, such as what careers we should pursue, but relate to the very reason for our existence. We are no longer talking about success, but about why we should stay alive! Hopefully, this time our self-examination will be genuine, yielding lasting results.

The people of Israel determine everything that happens in the whole world. Although there are fears and anxieties of war and anti-Semitism, we actually have nothing to fear. If we do our duty and bring correction to the world, the ominous clouds on the horizon will dissolve, not just for us, but for all of humanity.

We needn’t focus only on our own problems, but must think first and foremost of our responsibility to fostering world peace. This is the criteria by which we are judged from Above.

All the suffering and afflictions we feel—health problems, financial concerns, economic and security problems, and the pressure of the nations—are forces operating on us from Above to impel us to do our duty. The people of Israel are judged with respect to the collective, to the whole world, not just with respect to themselves. If we understand that and address it seriously, we will discover that life on Earth is literally heaven on Earth. But this outcome will depend on our actions and commitment.

At the end of the day, our success depends on Israel’s level of awareness of its duty toward the world. If we can bring this knowledge to people in a way that they can understand, we will literally change the world. The coming year can be a time of revelation of the awareness and the purpose of creation. It can be the year of the revelation of our duty to the world, of what makes us “the chosen people,” and what we must bring into the world to carry out the commandment of being “a light of the nations.”

May the coming year bring with it the dissemination of the genuine wisdom of Kabbalah, on which our good future is dependent.