69. First Will Be the Correction of the World
He said that first will be the correction of the world, then will be the complete redemption, the coming of the Messiah. This is the meaning of “but thine eyes shall see thy Teacher,” etc., “and the whole earth shall be full of the knowledge.” This is the meaning of what he wrote, that first the interior of the worlds will be corrected, and subsequently the exterior of the worlds. But we must know that the externality of the worlds is a higher degree than the correction of the internality.
And the root of Israel is from the interior of the worlds. This is the meaning of “for ye were the fewest of all peoples.” However, by correcting the interior, the exterior is corrected, too, though in small pieces. And the exterior will be corrected every time (until many pennies accumulate into a great sum), until all the exterior is corrected.
The main difference between the internal and the external is, for example, when one performs a certain Mitzva, not all the organs agree to it. It is like a person who fasts. We say that only his interior agreed with the fast, but his exterior is feeling discomfort by the fast, since the body is always in opposition to the soul. Thus, the difference between Israel and the nations of the world should only be made concerning the soul; but concerning the body, they are equal: Israel’s body, too, cares only for its own benefit.
Hence, when individuals in the whole of Israel are corrected, the whole world will naturally be corrected. It follows that the nations of the world will be corrected to the extent that we correct ourselves. This is the meaning of what our sages said, “Rewarded – sentences himself and the whole world to a scale of merit.” And they did not say, “sentences the whole of Israel,” but “the entire world to a scale of merit.” In other words, the internal will correct the external.