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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

Part Two

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: 1) Material interests; 2) Mental interests. There is not a leader in the world who will not fail the public for mental 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 be afraid of 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 sensations. 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 adhesion, and adhesion begets intelligence and knowledge.

Three Postulates [Axioms]

Seemingly free, seemingly immortal, seemingly existing [the last word is unclear in the manuscript and is therefore a speculation]. They are relative to the practical reason (ethics), to the most sublime good.

Truth and Falsehood

It is known that thought, matter, and desire are two modifications [differences of form] of the same thing. Thus, the psychological replica of physical 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 progeny of both.

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[Here, and below, the words, “new page,” mark the beginning of a new page or a new section in the manuscript.]

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 imprinted 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 imprinted 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 assertive. 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.

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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 anything uncommon, 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 it is written, “The whole earth is full of His glory,” 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 the actual reality. The same is true with one who has been granted the gift of knowing that he is the Creator’s son: nothing has changed in his actual reality, but the awareness he had not had before.

Consequently, the attaining person even becomes more natural, simpler, and most 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 the folk than he, and it is only him that they should love, for they have no closer brother than him.

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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 assertive. 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 natural law that “a wild ass’ colt is born a man,” and man is an upshot of a wild animal, and a monkey, it is according to Darwin’s method or that of our sages. After the sin, the human species decline into monkeys, for “All before Eve are as a monkey before the man.” However, according to man's merit, who consists in intellectual preparation, he continued to develop through deeds and suffering, and assumed religion, politics and justice, and finally became civilized. Indeed, this entire development was placed solely on the shoulders of the better part of society, and the masses followed them like a herd.

When the masses opened their eyes to take their fate into their hands, they had to revoke all the corrections and laws of the assertive, being religion, justice, and politics. This is because these were only according to the spirit of the assertive, according to their development and for their own good.

Thus, they had to build the world anew. In other words, they are like prehistoric people, the Darwinian ape, because they are not the ones who experienced these experiences, which brought them their measure of development. Until today, the succession of development was solely on the shoulders of the assertive, 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 political sense, as in the age of the cavemen. They have not been through the experiences and actions that brought the assertive to take upon themselves religion, manners, and justice.

Hence, if we let the world develop naturally, today’s world must undergo all the ruin and torments that the primitive man experienced, until they are compelled to assume permanent and beneficial political justice.

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 considers Nazism a particular 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 at all 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, that democrats, too, must renounce religion, manners, and justice like the Marxists, because all these are loyal servants of only the assertive in the public. They always place obstacles before the democrats, or the better part [majority] of the public.

It is true that thinkers 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 cancel religion and manners gradually, and adapt a new politics in a manner that will not ruin the world, the masses will not wait for them at all. Rather, as our sages say, “Do not ruin a synagogue before you can build a new one in its place.” In other words, we are forbidden to let the powerful ones [majority] take hold of the leadership before we build a religion, conducts, and politics suitable for them, because in the meantime the world will be ruined, and there will be no one with whom to speak.


[a philosophical view that negates all the traditional values and institutions]

Not complete nihilism, but nihilism of values (such as Nietzsche with regards to the values of Christianity), meaning all the values in the religious conducts, ethics, and politics that have been thus far accepted in the perception of humanism.

All these are compromises in the measurements of egoism of the individual, the state, or God’s servant. And I say that any measure of egoism is faulty and 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 actions and sensations, much like a mirror. There is no freedom of will, only freedom of deeds. However, not by itself, for evil deeds induce evil deeds, 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) mind, since every man's way seems right in his own eyes, and his mind always consents.

Outside of This World

Outside of this world we must research and examine only subjectively and pragmatically (practically). This way is the conduct of the research in this world, though it is outside of it, as it contemplates by measurements clothed in the nature of this world, and also according the practical (pragmatic) benefit.

What Is Outside of This World?

Only the Creator is imperative, since He is the place of the world, and the world is His place. It is He alone that we understand, that He is also outside of this world, and nothing else, 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 AK and ABYA [the worlds Adam Kadmon, Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya], only subjective comprehension is possible, without touching the object whatsoever.

The essence of the objects we define by the names ABYA 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 psychophysical parallelism. This is so because we know any object by two forms: physical first, and psychic next, 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.

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The Essence of Religion

The essence of religion is only understood pragmatically, as written by James [William James (1842-1910), American philosopher]. The origin of faith is in the need for the truth in it, inasmuchas it satisfies this need.

There are two kinds of needs: 1) A mental need. Without it, life would become sickeningly detestable. 2) A physical need. This need appears primarily in the social order, such as in ethics and politics, as Kant [German philosopher (1724-1804)] had written, “Faith is the basis of morality, and guards it.”

Naturally, sages will come solely from among those with the mental need, for they also need it objectively. However, the second part will derive satisfaction, namely truth, also subjectively. However, from Lo Lishma [not for her sake] one comes to Lishma [for her sake]. 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 consequential evolution, according to historic materialism and the dialectics of Hegel [Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), German philosopher] of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. Indeed, it corresponds to the sensation of the Creator, from the still, vegetative, animate, and speaking, up to prophecy, or to the knowledge of God. Pleasure is the thesis, affliction is the antithesis, and the sensation outside one’s skin is the synthesis.

The Essence of Corruption and Correction Is in the 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 vs. Quality

Until now, the qualitative [powerful] (who are the assertive), 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 Prehistoric 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 quicker way than religion, the loathing of any measure of will to receive, and elevating the beauty of the will to bestow to a great extent. This must be done specifically by actions. Although the psychophysical are parallel, still, the physical precedes the psychic.

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The Prodigies

The prodigies is a product of the generation, with a strong inclination to bestow, and does not need a thing for himself. As such, he has equivalence of form with the Creator, and naturally cleaves to Him. He extends wisdom and pleasure from Him and bestows upon humankind.

They are divided into two kinds: Either they work consciously, meaning to bestow contentment upon their maker, and hence bestow upon humankind, or they work unconsciously, meaning that they do not feel and know that they are in adhesion with the Creator. They cleave to Him unconsciously. They only bestow upon humanity, and according to this principle, there is no progress to humanity, except to instill the will to bestow in them, and multiply the prodigies in the world.


[The science of purpose]

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: “And the whole earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord.” There is none more specific purpose than that.

Maimonides takes after the method of dysteleology, and says that the Creator has for creation other purposes besides the human species. It is hard for him to comprehend that the Creator has created such a great creation, with planetary systems, where our planet is like a grain of sand, and all this was only for the purpose of man's completeness.

Purpose is imperative for any mindful being, and one who works purposelessly is mindless. By His acts we know Him. He has created the world in still, vegetative, animate, and speaking. The speaking is the climax of creation, since it feels others and bestows upon them. Atop them is the prophet, who feels the Creator and knows Him. This is perceived as pleasing Him, and His purpose in the entire creation.

Hegel’s question is that necessarily, there are purposeless creatures in nature, like many things on our planet, and the countless planets that humankind does not use at all. 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.” Perhaps there is still, vegetative, animate and speaking on each planet, and in all the planets, and its purpose is the speaking.

It is likewise 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 completely trust the prophecy.

Causality and Choice

There is a path of pain, by which one pays unconsciously by dialectic laws, where each being conceals the absence within. The being 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 being than the first, as it contains the correction of the previous antithesis. (This is so because any absence precedes presence.) Hence, the second being is called “synthesis,” meaning that it includes and is an upshot of both, the presence and the absence, which preceded this new being.

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 syntheses. But what is perfection?

In historic materialism, the abovementioned 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 the just division manifests.

Path of Torah

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 pain is an objective act, the path of Torah is a subjective act, and fate is in the hands of the concerned parties.

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The principle: bestowal upon others. The governance—a regime that mandates a minimum for life, and good deeds toward the standard of living of society. The purpose and the goal: adhesion with Him. In my opinion, this is the final synthesis where absence is no longer concealed.

Good Deeds and Mitzvot

Locke [John Locke (1632-1704), English philosopher] said that there is nothing in the mind that does not come in the senses first. In addition, Spinoza [Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677), Jewish Dutch philosopher] said, “I do not want something because it is good, but it is good because I want it.” We must add to this there is nothing in the senses that is not present in actions first.

Thus, the acts beget senses, and senses beget understanding. For example, it is impossible for the senses to take pleasure in bestowal before they actually bestow. Moreover, it is impossible to understand and perceive the great importance of bestowal before it is tasted in the senses.

Likewise, it is impossible to taste pleasure in adhesion before one performs many good deeds can affect it, meaning by strict observance of this condition to bring Him contentment, or in other words, delight in the contentment given to the Creator by performing the commandment. After one feels the great pleasure in the acts, 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) Lo Lishma [not for her name], which is pure utilitarianism, meaning aiming to establish morality for one’s own good. One is satisfied when acquiring this tendency. And there is a second tendency to religion, being a mental need to cleave to Him. This is called Lishma [for her name]. One can be rewarded with the above through actions, and from Lo Lishma one comes to Lishma.

Life’s Tendency

There are three views in books and in research: either ideas about how to attain adhesion with Him; or to acquire progress, called utilitarianism, or corporeal pleasure of the flesh, called Hedonism.

I wish the view of Hedonism were true. The trouble is that the pains are greater than the few sensual pleasures 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 mental 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 bestow. This is also similar to “in order to not 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 the pleasure is brief, and the suffering, long.

Life’s Purpose

From all the aforementioned, you will find that life’s direction is to attain adhesion with Him, strictly to benefit the Creator, or to merit the public to achieve adhesion with 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 bestowal, the question is “To whom?”

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