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Eternal War in Heaven and on Earth

Interview for "Vesty" newspaper July, 2001
(Shortly after the terrorist attack at the Dolphinarium discotheque in Tel-Aviv)

On the pavement, a weeping girl knelt on her knees in front of the candles. She cried endlessly and hopelessly and her black skirt was soaked in tears. In front of her, fresh red roses were neatly arranged in a row, hiding the dark stains on the pavement beneath them.

“A boy lay on this spot yesterday” said her friend and began to cry. She said that now was not the right time for newspaper reports; there was too much blood. It was the third of June and no one in the world could offer enough consolation to that girl kneeling in front of the candles. On the first of June, in this very spot, she had lost all her hopes. All that remained was her breathless and bloodstained love.

In an article about the Holocaust I came across this short dialogue: “Where was your God when all the Jews were forced into the gas-chambers?”

“He was standing at the doorway crying,” was the reply.

I quoted this dialogue to Rabbi Laitman. “Beautiful words but absolutely meaningless if one does not understand the purpose of creation,” he replied.

Question: But the blood of that boy and the pain of that girl require at least an explanation if not consolation, which is probably impossible. Regardless of the purpose of creation – at least some kind of justification!

Rav Laitman (R.L.): I am the wrong address for consolation. I will not tell you anything about either that blood or those sufferings, even though I grieve no less than you do. My grief is of a different kind; I cannot participate in your grief. But if you want to understand why and what is happening in Israel now, and what we should do about it, that I can explain.

We – our world – are located at the lowest point in the universe. The Creator has placed us here in order to allow us, according to his plan, to rise independently to the highest point in the universe. We should become equal to the Creator in terms of perfection, i.e., to be filled with tranquility and knowledge. To achieve this, we must climb all 125 steps of the spiritual ladder beginning in our world and ending in the Creator himself. This ladder consists of five phases, each consisting of 5 Partzufim (pl. for Partzuf), which in turn, are each comprised of five Sefirot. Together, they amount to 125 Sefirot, qualities and stages.

Question: Everything you just explained is absolutely theoretical information. What can we do with it? How does it relate to the catastrophes in our world, to these bloodstains on the pavement? Why should we pay the price for the fact that according to the Creator's plan we were placed at “the lowest point in the Universe?”

R.L.: With such questions and demands will get us nowhere in our conversation. Only once you've learned and understood the laws of the universe and learned the nature of the spiritual worlds beyond our tiny material world, will you receive the answer. Naturally, you’re not asking me today why a man gets crushed to death when he jumps off the seventh floor of a building or drowns if he can't swim. It seems normal to you because you know some of the physical laws that cause it and you have no doubts about their credibility.

However, since the end of the 20th century, according to the developmental curve of creation, you and all our contemporaries are obliged to learn the laws of the spiritual worlds, which are as indispensable as the physical laws of our world. This is in order to understand them as we understand the law of gravity, without having any doubt about its existence. We are running very late, especially the Jews, in our adoption of the spiritual laws. We ignorantly violate them and, having done that, we angrily protest when we drown, crash and burn.

If you look at the curve of creation's development, its correction and redemption, you can see that all these processes and their timing have been predefined. In the past, this information had been secretive, only few had access to it. Today, it is freely available. This information is very important for today's humanity. It is more important than the law of gravity. It is not only our mere existence in this world that depends on it but also the future direction of the entire mankind, and first and foremost, that of the Jews.

All our souls are parts of a single collective soul, called “Adam.” This is the only soul that was created by the Creator. According to his plan – the program of creation – this soul has to distance itself from the Creator to such an extent as to sense all the bitterness, humiliation, vanity, imperfection and instability of this state. This is done in order to make it want to resemble the Creator, to return and to rise to Him.

The whole point of this descent from the Creator and subsequent ascent back to him is for the soul to acquire its own desire to resemble the Creator. When it returns to the Creator of its own wish, the soul perceives infinitely greater enjoyment, eternity, sublime knowledge, tranquility and perfection than it had in its original state.

The ascent of the soul from our world to the Creator is gradual – spanning across 125 stages – according to the number of the attributes of the Creator that the soul acquires. The return of the soul to the Creator should be during a person's lifetime in our world and not after his departure, as poets often describe it. The lowest stage of this ladder is absolute evil, while the highest is absolute good. The intermediate stages are all relative victories of the good over the evil. The ascent up the ladder is man’s perpetual struggle with evil, i.e. man's egoistic nature.

If man understands the entire essence of creation, he will realize that his entire life is a continuous battle with his internal evil: its gradual ousting and replacement with the qualities of the Creator - the good. Unless all evil is replaced with good, the battle will go on.

Moreover, the more actively good becomes in ousting evil, the more intense and ruthless evil becomes. This is because the higher the soul ascends on the ladder, the more extreme the powers of good and evil become, and the more strongly they fight one another.

The war between good and evil some poetic metaphor, but in between those fighting forces there is the soul on its to the purpose of creation.

Question: An “eternal war?”

R.L.: Of course. The inability to understand and the unwillingness to see the constant struggle between good and evil – the permanent state of war between them – leads man to the hope that any moment it is possible to achieve peace here on earth. All it takes is the good will to try and negotiate it.

Never, in its entire history, has mankind been without wars, preparations for war, or healing of the wounds following wars. This is a fact, just as it is a fact that where there is war somewhere, there are Jews. They are there, either hidden or apparent. They may be hidden because the trace of ten of the Jewish tribes have been lost, but once we've learned the reasons for the war and its participants, we will most likely find our fellow countrymen there – either hidden or apparent. This will be the case until the very end, i.e., until the eventual correction of evil and its replacement with good.

Question: You are picturing a hopeless situation!

R.L.: This very process will eventually lead us to perfection, eternity and tranquility, which is the goal of creation.

Question: But we won't see the end of this process?

R.L.: Who told you that? Have a look once more at the curve of the redemption. Mankind has been advancing unconsciously toward the goal of creation for thousands of years. Since the end of the 20th century, the conscious ascent of the souls began – exactly as it was foretold in The Book of “Zohar” and in the writings of all the greatest Kabbalists, such as the Ari, the Vilna Gaon and Baal HaSulam. We are the first generation obliged to begin the conscious process of correction, but we haven't even made ourselves familiar with it. We haven't even bothered to learn anything about it. That is why there are breathless bodies of boys and girls and that is why there are bloodstains on the pavement and rivers of tears.

Question: But how can we consciously participate in this process if everything is predefined and the curve is drawn?

R.L.: The only way to participate in this process is to study the program of correction, consciously enter the process and understand that the laws by which the world operates are predetermined and cannot be changed. Man should realize that the speed and the extent of correction depend only on him, and that in that he has freedom of choice. There is a certain amount of time that each correction should take. If man is late, then nature itself will push him forward by means of tragic events, indicating his uncorrected state, which man must begin to correct.

This means that the sufferings, tragedies and catastrophes we are going through are only consequences of our uncorrected qualities, ones we did not correct on time with our own efforts. Terrorist attacks and wars, explosions and tragedies will go on unless we begin the internal war with evil in the spiritual world, while being prepared at the same time for the physical war here. This is the internal work to correct our own nature, our ego, and discover and overcome the evil inside us. There is no psychologist or psychiatrist who knows this method. This method of developing and correcting the soul was worked out by the Jews (as part of our predestined mission). We should have started to learn this method a long time ago.

In the 1930s, on the eve of the Second World War, the greatest Kabbalist of the 20th century, Baal HaSulam, called upon Jews to do that. They didn't listen to him. We are obliged to begin to govern our own correction, our universe. But in the meantime, we should stop dreaming about the end of war.

Question: You deprive us of any hope for peace and consolation, while all other religions preach for it!

R.L.: I aim to show the real picture of the counteraction between good and evil. I am trying to show the calculations by which the explosions happen and wars begin. I don't write for consolation but share the knowledge with which we can fight evil. If we would start to correct ourselves in accordance with the plan of creation, then we will not feel the fierce contradictions between good and evil so strongly, as they are expressed in our world in disasters and catastrophes. Hence, it all depends on our participation in the correction, and how active we are in the process.

If we correct ourselves and advance toward the perception of the spiritual worlds in the pace that was predefined in the plan of our development, then in time we will feel more serene, happy and comfortable.

That is why we teach the method for the correction of the soul in our groups and workshops, and not ‘relaxation readings’ of Psalms. All religions talk about the pain of this world and the reward in the next. Kabbalah by no means asserts that our tragedies are a payment for the admission to the Garden of Eden. Our tragedies are not the payment but rather a consequence of one of our spiritual qualities that was not corrected on time. The tragedies will go on unless we correct our qualities. Here is a simple analogy: if my car does not work properly, I will suffer from constant breakdowns unless I fix it. If I delay the repairs, the problems will increase and lead to accidents and catastrophes.

By no means do I want to paint rosy pictures of the future: we are in the midst of a constant fight against evil and only due correction of the evil within, and the abolition of its power over us, can prevent wars and terrorist attacks. We have entered a stage of conscious correction and from now on our nature will push us to act consciously. The more we fall behind, the harsher it will push us forward because the war between holiness and the dark forces goes on until the end of correction.

Question: How can it be that the Creator set a goal that allows so much suffering to be inflicted on his creatures, how can such a way and such a goal be justified?

R.L.: Only if you see the big picture. If you don’t, you cannot justify it and cannot change anything, and you will find yourself standing next to another weeping girl. You will be able to change only if you learn His ways. Only then you will justify the Creator and his goal. But before that, you will condemn him despite all the beautiful words and phrases. Any sensible man today, after he has learned that there is a way to not only trace the trajectories of planets, comets, atoms and human genes, but also the ways, laws and goal of the Creator, must show at least some interest in this most important field of knowledge. I realize people are lazy and incurious, but nowadays this laziness results in many tragedies. Unless the goal is reached, everyone in this world will have to fight on both the material and spiritual levels. One does not contradict the other.

Question: But we do learn sciences that are much less important. Ones that our lives, not to mention our eternal life, do not depend on, why then do we allow ourselves to neglect such an important field, dealing directly with our future?

R.L.: The Universe is initially comprised of two contradicting forces. That is why the war, which is the subjugation of Evil by Good, is necessary. It is an internal war as well as an external one, here on earth. The entire life of King David, a prototype of our kingdom and statehood, are a testimony to that: 40 years he fought and 40 years he wrote Psalms.

Kind David is an example of how one should conduct himself in this world, constantly fighting external and internal enemies. He has clearly shown us that the spiritual ascent is a spiritual war, and that the war in our world is a material reflection of that.

We must now realize the pointlessness of waiting for peace; it will not come. On the contrary, conflicts and military clashes everywhere will escalate. But we can transfer this war from the level of this world, to the spiritual level, and win there. Then we will witness peace in our world.

By no means should we forget that the war on both material and spiritual levels is inevitable. It will continue until the end of the overall correction. Under no circumstances should we deceive ourselves into believing that agreements, concessions, prayers or other corporeal acts may avoid the physical war, for only laboring on the correction of our soul will save us.

The physical war cannot be avoided by the annihilation of the physical enemy, not even with such overwhelming victories such as we’ve had during the short 50-year history of our state. The correction (annihilation of evil, reunification with good and closeness to the Creator) can only be achieved in the upper world. The cessation of wars is no more than the mere consequence of the reunion with the Creator, achievable only by means of learning Kabbalah.

Question: What are the “natural borders” of Israel?

R.L.: The natural borders of the land of Israel in our world are the territories that are influenced by the spiritual force that descends from the spiritual land of Israel. Every part of the globe is influenced by a specific superior power that descends from the upper world, hence the phrase: “Change of place change of luck.” People who live in the same place have similar body structures, facial features and character but when they move to another location for long periods of time, their internal and external characteristics change as well.

There are 70 powers or forces in the spiritual world that descend into our world and produce 70 nations. Every nation occupies its own territory. Today, everything in our world is intermingled but those 70 forces still descend from the upper worlds and each of them is still active over the indigenous territory of every nation. When one sees the powers descending from the upper worlds, one can point to the precise borders of Israel.

But that is not the issue. The main concern is the correction of creation. Unless it is corrected, neither the spiritual nor the physical wars will stop. Therefore, it is our duty to retain the strength of the army and retaliate strongly against any attempt to harm us.

When one realizes that there is only one way to fight, to the total victory, and that no agreements can be made with evil (according to the thought of creation), then it is understood that we must attack the evil spiritually, precede it inwardly and outwardly.

We must correct the inner evil by conquering it, destroying it and building the construction of the good on top of it. The same should be applied externally.

It is a mistake to think that agreements and concessions will prevent war and terrorism in Israel or in the world. It stands opposite the plan of creation. It only complicates the problem, because it strengthens the evil.

We should take Kind David as an example and fight evil as he did, in this world and in the spiritual world. The conditions that we are in are far better than those of King David because our time already indicates the end of correction and the coming of the Messiah.

Therefore, as it is written in The Book of “Zohar,” only by means of studies of The Book of “Zohar” is it possible to affect superior forces, win over evil and save the entire world from future catastrophes.

Question: I know many people who have studied and are studying Kabbalah and The “Zohar,” but there seem to be no visible results.

R.L.: The result is the consequence of the end of correction. It cannot be achieved by efforts of individuals. Recall the prophets and their messages to the Israeli nation. We need to start studying Kabbalah just as one goes to school. It does not at all mean that everybody should become a Kabbalist and learn the deepest secrets of the teaching. The essential thing is to make people understand the basic laws of development and correction of the soul that are described in Kabbalah. Our time demands it.

In addition to the study, we should fundamentally change our attitude to war, and view them as corrections. We should not try to escape it, but relate to it with maturity because it is intended for the correction of our souls. We must understand that in the spiritual war there is an endless war, and that only if we terminate it there, we will also terminate it in our world.

Question: Not long ago we finished one exile, we returned to this land. And now there are many people who leave again, the beginning of a new exile, for fear of the perpetual war in our country.

R.L.: Correct. Many people want to leave Israel, and many will leave. By doing so, they add more evil to their private, spiritual account. They won't hear the explosions near their homes but in several years’ time, they will become the victims of even greater catastrophes.

Everything is predefined and no one can escape his fate. No one can escape his mission – as in the case of Jonah the prophet. Decisions with regard to each soul have been made in the upper world according to its reincarnations, its destiny and its predefined finite state. Unless you've learned these ways, my words will seem empty to you.

The knowledge of Kabbalah allows man to cope with war in this world, and control it spiritually, fully conscious of the certain victory.

Spiritual light descends gradually, not all at once, through a conscious and tough struggle on our part, letdowns and failures. The general war is the same as our individual wars. Through the study of Kabbalah, we will attain control of the course of events, and lead a war that will build a Tabernacle for the Creator. We should not raise our hopes high about the coming peace. The conflict between the forces is necessary, and it is we Jews who determine this process and the events that befall us.

There have been many wars in Israel since the establishment of this state. But there are wars we do not feel. If one knows beforehand about the necessity of the war and understands its highest purpose and moral basis, the enemy is defeated so effectively and bloodlessly that the war passes us almost unnoticeably.

The Creator tells us: “The Lord will fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace” (Exodus 14, 14). That is because this is the Creator's war! When man sees it happening in the upper world, he will practically not feel this war in this world.

Question: But we do feel the terrible pains of war. If, as you say, one can transfer the war with evil to the spiritual level and reduce pain, then why doesn’t it happen, why is it concealed from us?

R.L.: The concealment and the darkness we live in, our unawareness of the future and our powerlessness to know it, are a consequence of our spiritual state. We can change it only if we study Kabbalah - The Book of “Zohar.” Even if we do not rush to establish a connection with the Creator and attain the spiritual world, various events will push us toward him in order to establish that contact.

The entire universe is organized in such a way that we should wage war against Pharaoh, against evil, together with the Creator. Our internal war should be conducted with a feeling that it is not us who run it, but the Creator. One can come to such a feeling only by means of the Kabbalistic methodology.

Question: You had said there is no coercion in spirituality, and that one cannot be made to take an interest in the study of Kabbalah, the structure of the spiritual worlds and the supreme management.

R.L.: Correct. It is impossible to force anyone to study Kabbalah. One reaches this study only if he feels unhappy. Only the necessity makes a person evolve. I think that in a year or two, people will feel which direction they should advance in. In any case, time is on our side, the side of the study of Kabbalah.

If up to 10% of the public would feel the need to study Kabbalah and circulate it a few more hours a week, and further 50-70% would understand the importance of this work, and how important it is to acquire the method for the management of the ‘upper control’, that would change the balance of the spiritual powers and will lead to the coming of the force of the Messiah.

Generation after generation, i.e., reincarnation-by-reincarnation, the soul descends to this world and reincarnates into the physical body and wages war against it. We are unaware of this war; it happens within us on the unconscious level. We think we are engaged in a mere struggle to survive, in escaping pain and chasing pleasure.

But this is our internal war. The external wars are a result of human nature and its desire to control others, hence the struggles between people, parties and all sorts of competitions, leading to wars between nations.

After the soul undergoes a certain number of reincarnations in an unconscious struggle, where man is unaware of the reason and the goal of his attempts, due to the concealment of the process of reincarnation, the soul ascends to the next degree of correction – a conscious evolution. In order to be corrected consciously, quickly and painlessly, Kabbalists developed a special methodology called Kabbalah. It is the mathematics of the human soul. It must be studied only at the last stage of the evolution of the soul, i.e. the conscious stage.

Kabbalists of former centuries wrote that this is the time when the return from the fourth and last exile should begin. To be precise, the Vilna Gaon, who lived in the 16th century, had stated that in 1990 this new era would begin. Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, Baal HaSulam, who lived in the beginning of the 20th century, pointed to the year 1995 as the beginning of the change.

In any case, this process has already started, and we see how the Jewish wisdom of the hidden teaches us about the personal correction of the soul, which has been thus far locked before us, now becomes crucial for many people, especially in our generation.

Baal HaSulam writes that the study of Kabbalah changes the balance of powers in the spiritual world, and results in changes in this world. That correlation between the powers does not end the war. The war is inevitable and will last until the end of correction, but it doesn’t have to be a war with millions of casualties. A war is a collision between forces, which must go on until the end of correction, and we are already at the last phase.

Question: If war is a permanent and inevitable state in the spiritual world as well as in ours, how can we affect the situation?

R.L.: If we study Kabbalah we can effectively alter the balance of powers between good and evil, and change the management of the worlds so that the war will go unnoticed.

Kabbalah explains the collision between Jews and Arabs by analyzing the overall structure of creation. The outer part of the soul is called Gentile, and correlates to the gentiles. The inner part is called Jewish, and correlates to the Jews, the Hebrews (from the word Ivry – i.e. to cross over), meaning those of have crossed over the border of this world and entered the spiritual world.

There are always struggles in man’s soul between the outer, corporeal, egoistic part, called Gentile, and the inner part, called Jew. The Arabs – who are fighting the Jews – are in fact inside me. They are my own attributes, my own nature, which I must defeat inside me, and at the same time defeat it in the flesh. We will become Jews in the full sense of the word only when we defeat the Gentiles inside us, meaning when we are corrected.

But this is not our current state; it is our future one. If we were corrected today, we would not have to fight the Palestinians. Shalom (peace) comes from the Hebrew word Shlemut (wholeness, completeness). Peace and understanding are attainable only if the good completely rules the evil and evil serves under the good.

In our corrupted state we cannot picture the possibility of using evil forces in such a way that they serve the good, in order to come close to the Creator, to his attributes. But all it takes is to change the way we use it, i.e. the aim. Surprisingly enough, people who suffered personal tragedies do not wish to hear about supreme forces or the Creator, though that is precisely where their pain came from. But the truth is that it is troubles and pain that direct us to spirituality. It is impossible to escape that odd contradiction.

Question: After the events of the 1st of June 2001 I encountered that strangeness. A group of youngsters was at a house where two sisters had been killed in the terrorist attack. We were recording an interview for the television. I unexpectedly asked a question which seemed to be improper: “Do you believe in God?” I waited for an aggressive and embarrassing reply, but the eight youngsters sitting there immediately responded positively. One of them, with an earring in his ear added: “How can you live through that and go on not believing?”

R.L.: When a developed grownup wants to draw a certain conclusion, he uses the experience of former generations. The simple man, however, shuts his eyes, feels nothing but the personal momentary pain and will hear nothing of other tragedies. Therefore, it is not the quantity of pain that determines the outcome of the observation, but the internal maturity.

Such a person can commence dealing with the question about the meaning of life and the cause of suffering at any age. He might feel these questions at the age of ten, although he hasn’t been through any pain in his short life and grew up in an ordinary family. Such a thing is a result of previous incarnations of his soul in this world.

We are advancing very slowly toward the end of correction, because we are not taking into consideration the blows that come upon us, we just stand there taking the beating. As long as their level does not reach a certain threshold, we continue to tolerate them. When the blows get bitter enough, they will make us want to get rid of them. Only then will the ego activate its mind and become wiser. There is an illusion that the path of pain is the path to the spiritual world. But that is not the way. It takes time until the pain accumulates to a certain degree, before the need to understand the reason for it emerges. War is inevitable and will continue until the end of correction. If we study Kabbalah, we will decrease its intensity, diminish the suffering and perhaps even move it to its spiritual form altogether.

For the time being, the majority of the people do not grasp that besides the external war, there is also an internal one. Because of that the suffering will only increase. This process has been underway for thousands of years, because the perception of the reason and purpose of the suffering should reach the deepest parts of our egoistic nature. In the meantime we continue to regard our body as our main asset, both in pleasure and in pain, because we do not feel our soul. We think we are the body, meaning our mind, and that is what we identify with.

Question: But we are the body and the mind! Everything else is concealed from us. How else can we behave?

R.L.: Today it is already possible. We have a strong enough basis to understand that our lives are but a fleeting moment compared to something eternal and sublime. But we are so connected to our bodies that we cannot think about the soul, only of the body.

The method of the Kabbalah was given to us in order to raise man above the physical world, and help him in his correction, in the fulfillment of the soul and the connection with the Creator. According to the plan of the Creator, different circumstances will bring us to the need to understand that there is something else besides the body: the soul, and that that is the important part.

In every one of us there is something we don’t know, that we don’t feel yet. It is something huge, but empty. This emptiness and timelessness is something man should now discover. He should fill them through Kabbalah. The discovery of the soul has been underway for thousands of years, and today we have begun the last chapter in that revelation.

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