You are here: Kabbalah Library Home / Textbooks / Kabbalah for the Student / Time for Spiritual Attainment / Peace in the World
Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

Peace in the World

“Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth springeth out of the earth; and righteousness hath looked down from heaven. Yea, the Lord will give that which is good; and our land shall yield her produce.”

– Psalms 85

 

Everything is Evaluated Not by its Appearance at a Given Moment, but According to its Measure of Development.

Everything in reality, good and bad, and even the most harmful in the world, has a right to exist and should not be eradicated from the world and destroyed. We must only mend and reform it because any observation of the work of Creation is enough to teach us about the greatness and perfection of its Operator and Creator. Therefore, we must understand and be very careful when casting a flaw in any item of Creation, saying it is redundant and superfluous, as that would be slander about its Operator.

It is common knowledge that the Creator did not complete Creation when He created it. And we can see in every corner of reality, in the general and in the particular, that it abides by laws of gradual development, from absence to completion of growth. For this reason, when the fruit tastes bitter at the beginning of its growth, it is not considered a flaw in the fruit, since we all know the reason: the fruit has not yet completed its development.

And so it is in every element of reality: When some element appears bad and harmful to us, it is but a self-testimony of that element; that it is still in the transition phase – in the process of its development. Hence, we cannot decide that it is bad and it is not wise for us to cast a flaw in it.

The Weakness of “World Reformers”

This is the key to understand the weakness of world-reformers throughout the generations. They regarded man as a machine that is not operating properly and needs mending, meaning to remove the corrupted parts and replace them with good ones.

And that is the tendency of all world reformers – to eradicate any harmful and bad in the human species… and it is true that if the Creator had not stood against them, they would certainly have by now cleansed man entirely, living only the good and useful.

But because the Creator meticulously watches over all the elements in His Creation, not letting anyone destroy a single thing in His Domain but only reform it and make it useful and good, all the reformers of the above-mentioned kind will vanish from the face of the earth, and evil inclinations will not vanish. They live on and count the degrees that they must still traverse until they complete their ripening.

At that time, the bad attributes themselves will turn to good and useful ones, as the Creator had initially perceived them to be, like the fruit on the tree that sits and waits and counts the days and months it must still wait before the completion of its ripeness, at which time its taste and sweetness will become evident to any person.

Rewarded – I Will Hasten It, Not Rewarded – in Its Time

We must know that the above-mentioned law of development, which is spread over the whole of reality, is guaranteed to return all evil to good and useful acts through the power of the Government of Heaven Above, meaning without asking permission from the people who inhabit the earth. However, the Creator placed knowledge and authority in the hands of man and permitted him to accept the above-mentioned law of development under his own authority and government, and handed him the ability to hasten the process of development as he wishes, freely and completely independent of the boundaries of time.

It turns out that there are two authorities here, acting in the above-mentioned conduct of development: the one is the authority of Heaven, which is sure to turn anything harmful and evil to good and useful, but that will be in due time, in its own way, in a floundering manner and after a long time. And then there is the authority of the earth. And when the “evolving object” is a living being, it suffers horrendous torments while under the “press of development,” a press that carves its way ruthlessly.

The “authority of the earth,” however, is comprised of people who have taken this above-mentioned law of development under their own government and can free themselves entirely from the chains of time, and who greatly accelerate time, the completion of the ripeness and correction of the object, which is the end of its development.

Such are the words that our sages said (Sanhedrin 98) about the complete redemption and complete correction of Israel. And thus they clarified the verse “I the Lord will hasten it in its time” (Isaiah 60:22): Rewarded – I will hasten it, not rewarded – in its time.

Thus, if Israel are rewarded and take the law of development that their bad attributes must go through in order to invert them into good ones, they will bring it under their own government. In other words, they will set their minds and hearts to correct all the bad attributes in them and turn them into good ones by themselves. Then, “I will hasten it,” meaning they will be completely freed from the chains of time. And from now on, this end depends on their own will, meaning only by the greatness of the deed and the mindfulness. Thus, they hasten the end.

But if they are not rewarded with developing their bad attributes under their own authority, but leave it under the Authority of Heaven, they, too, are certain to attain the end of their redemption and the end of their correction. This is because there is complete certainty in the Government of Heaven, which operates by the law of gradual development, degree by degree, until it turns any evil and harmful to good and useful, as the fruit on a tree. The end is guaranteed, but in its time, meaning it is completely connected and dependent on time.

According to that law of gradual development, one must go through many degrees, which tend to come heavily and very slowly and lengthily, and stretch over a very long time before one reaches the end. And because the objects we are discussing are evolving, sensing, living beings, they, too, must suffer great agony and pains in those states of development, since the compelling force, which exists in those degrees in order to raise man from a lower degree to a Higher One, is but a pushing force of pain and torment that has accumulated in the lower degree and that can no longer be tolerated. Because of that, we must leave that degree and rise to a Higher One. It is as our sages said, “The Creator places over them a king whose sentences are as harsh as Haman's, and Israel repent and reform.”

Therefore, the end is certain to come to Israel by the above-mentioned law of gradual development, and it is called “in its time,” meaning tied to the chains of time. And Israel’s guaranteed end, by taking the development of their attributes under their own authority is called, “I will hasten it,” meaning completely independent of time.

Good and Bad Are Evaluated by the Actions of the Individual toward Society

Before we examine the correction of evil in the human species, we must first determine the value of those abstract terms, “good” and “bad.” When we define an act or an attribute as good or bad, we should clarify whom that attribute or act benefits.

To understand that, we must thoroughly know the proportional value between the individual and the collective, between the individual and the collective that the individual lives in and nourishes from, in both matter and in spirit.

Reality shows us that there is no right to exist for an isolated individual without a sufficient number of people around him to serve him and help him provide for his needs. Hence, a person is born to lead a social life to begin with. And each and every individual in society is like a wheel that is linked to several other wheels, placed in a machine. And this single wheel has no freedom of movement in and of itself, but continues with the motion of the rest of the wheels in a certain direction, to qualify the machine to perform its general role.

And if there is some breakdown in the wheel, the breakdown is not evaluated relating to the wheel itself, but according to its service and role with respect to the whole machine.

And in our subject, the benefit of each and every person within his collective is evaluated not according to his own goodness, but according to his service to the public. And vice-versa, we appreciate the attribute of evil of each and every individual only according to the harm one inflicts upon the public in general, and not by one’s own individual value.

These things are crystal clear both from the perspective of the truth in them, and from the perspective of the good in them. This is because what is found in the collective is only what is found in the individual. And the benefit of the collective is the benefit of each and every individual: who harms the collective takes his share in the harm, and who benefits the collective takes his share in the benefit, since individuals are part of the whole, and the whole is not worth in anyway more than the sum of its individuals.

It thus turns out that the collective and the individual are one and the same. And the individual is not harmed because of his enslavement to the collective, since the freedom of the collective and the freedom of the individual are one and the same, too. And as they share the good, they also share the freedom.

Thus, good attributes and bad attributes, good deeds and bad deeds are evaluated only according to the benefit of the public.

Of course, the above words apply if all the individuals perform their role toward the public to the fullest and receive no more than they deserve, and take no more than their friends’ share. But if a part of the collective does not behave accordingly, it turns out that not only do they harm the collective but they are also harmed.

We should not discuss further something that is known to all, and the aforesaid is only to show the drawback, the place that needs correction, and that is that each and every individual will understand that his own benefit and the benefit of the collective are one and same thing. In that, the world will come to its full correction.

The Four Attributes, Mercy, Truth, Justice, and Peace, in the Individual and the Collective

Once we know full well the desired attribute of goodness, we should examine the things and the means at our disposal, in order to hasten that delight and happiness.

Four properties are provided for that purpose: mercy, truth, justice, and peace. Those attributes have been used by all world reformers thus far. It is more correct to say that it is with those four attributes that human development has advanced thus far through the government of Heaven, in a gradual path, until it brought humankind to its current state.

It has already been written that it would be better for us to take the law of development under our own hands and government, for then we will rid ourselves of any torment that the developmental history has in store for us from this day forth. Thus, we should scrutinize and examine those four properties in order to thoroughly understand what we have been given thus far and by them we will know what aid we should hope to get from them in the future.

Practical Difficulties in Determining the Truth

When we discuss good attributes, in theory, there is certainly no better attribute than the attribute of truth. This is because all the goodness that we have defined above in the relationship between the individual and the collective is when the individual gives and fully plays his part toward the collective, and also takes his share from the collective justly and honestly. All that is but the truth, but the drawback is that in fact, the collective does not accept this property at all. Thus, the practical difficulty in the above-mentioned truth is proven from itself: there is some drawback and a cause here that makes it unacceptable to the collective. And we must examine what is that drawback.

When you closely examine the above-mentioned truth from the perspective of its practical feasibility, you will necessarily find it vague and complicated, and it is impossible for the human eye to scrutinize it. That is, truth necessitates us to equalize all the individuals in the collective, to receive their share according to their labor, no more and no less. And this is the one true basis, which cannot be doubted, for it is certain that anyone who wishes to enjoy the labor of his friend, his acts are against the above-mentioned reason and clear truth.

But how do we think that we can scrutinize that truth in a way that it is acceptable to the collective? For example, if we evaluate something according to the apparent labor, meaning according to the number of hours, and we compel each and everyone to work an equal number of hours, we will still not discover the attribute of truth at all.

Moreover, there is an evident lie here for two reasons: The first is the physical side and the second is the mental side of the worker.

That is because by nature, the power to work is not equal with each and every person. One person in the society labors in one hour of work, due to his weakness, much more than his friend who works two hours or more.

And there is also a psychological matter here, because he who is very lazy by nature exhausts himself in one hour more than his friend in two hours or more. And according to the perspective of the evident truth, we should not compel one part of society to labor more than the other part for the fulfillment of the needs of their lives. In fact, the naturally strong and nimble in society benefit from the labor of others and exploit them maliciously against the attribute of truth, because they labor very little compared to the weak and the lazy in society.

And if we also consider the natural law, “Taking after the majority,” then such a truth that takes the number of hours of apparent work as a basis is completely unfeasible, since the weak and the lazy are always the vast majority in society, and they will not allow the nimble and strong minority to exploit their strength and labor. Thus, you see that the above-mentioned basis, which is the labor of the individual on the condition of the evident truth, and with it the majority in the society, is completely unfeasible, since it cannot be examined and evaluated in any way.

Thus you find that the attribute of truth has no practical ability to organize the path of the individual and the path of the collective in an absolute and satisfactory manner. Also, it is completely insufficient for organizing life at the end of the correction of the world.

Furthermore, there are even greater difficulties here because there is no clearer truth than nature itself. And it is natural that each and every individual feels himself in the world of the Creator, as a sole ruler, that all the others were created only to ease and improve his life, without him feeling any obligation whatsoever to give anything in return.

And in simple words we shall say, that the nature of each and every person is to exploit the lives of all other people in the world for his own benefit. And all that he gives to another is only out of necessity; and even then there is exploitation of others in it, but it is done cunningly, so that his friend will not notice it and concede willingly.

The reason for it is that the nature of every branch is close to its root. And because man’s soul extends from the Creator, who is One and Unique, and everything is His, hence, so man, who extends from Him, feels that all the people in the world should be under his own governance and for his own private use. And this is an unbreakable law. The only difference is in people’s choices: One chooses to exploit people by attaining lower desires, and one by attaining government, while the third by attaining respect. Furthermore, if one could do it without much effort, he would agree to exploit the world with all three together—wealth, government and respect. However, he is forced to choose according to his possibilities and capabilities.

This law can be called “the law of singularity in man’s heart.” No person escapes it, and each and every one takes his share in that law: the great according to his size, and the small according to his size.

Thus, the above law of singularity in the nature of every person is neither condemned nor praised, as it is a natural reality and has a right to exist like all parts of reality. And there is no hope to eradicate it from the world or even blur its form a little, just as there is no hope to eradicate the entire human species from the face of the earth. Therefore, we will not be lying at all if we said about this law that it is the absolute truth.

And since it is undoubtedly so, how can we even try to ease one’s mind by promising him equality with all the people in the collective? For nothing is further from human nature than that, while one’s sole inclination is to soar higher, above the whole collective.

Thus we have thoroughly clarified that there is no real possibility to bring good and joyful conducts to the life of the individual and the lives of the collective by following the attribute of truth in a way that it will ease the mind of each and every individual, so that he may completely agree with it, as it should be at the end of correction.

In the Absence of the Ability to Establish the Attribute of Truth, They Tried to Establish the Noble Attributes

Now let us turn to the remaining three attributes: mercy, justice, and peace. It seems that to begin with, they were created only to be used as support for the weak attribute of truth in our world. And here, developmental history began to climb its slow and straggler degrees in its progress toward organizing the lives of the collective.

In theory, everyone willingly agreed and took it upon themselves to not deviate in any way from the truth. But in fact, they conducted themselves completely opposite from the truth. And since then, it has been the fate of truth to always be in the hands of the most deceitful and never in the hands of the weak and the righteous, so they could even be somewhat assisted by the attribute of truth.

When they could not establish the attribute of truth in the life of the collective, the exploited and the weak increased within society and from here emerged the attributes of mercy and justice and enacted their actions in the conduct of society, because the existence of the whole society compelled the successful among them to support the weak, so as to not harm the society in general. Therefore, they behaved with them indulgently, meaning mercifully and with charity.

But it is only natural that under such conditions the weak and the exploited proliferate, until there are enough of them to protest against the successful and start quarrels and fights. And from here emerged the attribute of “peace” in the world. Thus, all those attributes – mercy, charity, and peace – emerged and were born from the weakness of truth.

This is what caused society to divide into sects. Some adopted the attributes of mercy and charity, giving of their own possessions to others, and some adopted the attribute of truth, meaning “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours.”

In simpler words, we can divide the two sects into “constructors” and “destructors.” Constructors are those who want construction, the benefit of the collective, for which they are often willing to give of their own possessions to others. But those who are naturally prone to destruction and profligacy were more comfortable clinging to the attribute of truth, meaning, “What's mine is mine and what's yours is yours,” for their own gain, and would never want to give up anything of their own to others without taking into consideration jeopardizing the well-being of the collective, for as by nature they are destructors.

Hopes for Peace

Once those conditions brought society a great deal of strife and risked the well-being of society, the “peacemakers” appeared in society. They have assumed control and power and renewed the social life based on new conditions, which they considered true, to suffice for the peaceful existence of society.

Yet, the majority of those peacemakers, which spring up after every dispute, naturally come from among the destructors, meaning from the seekers of truth, by way of “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours.” This is because they are the powerful and courageous ones in society, called “heroes,” for they are always willing to renounce their own lives and the lives of the whole collective, if the collective disagrees with their view.

But the constructors in society, who are the men of mercy and charity, who care for their own lives and for the life of the collective, refuse to risk themselves or the public in order to impose their opinion on the collective. Hence, they are always on the weak side in society, called “the faint-hearted” and “the coward.”

It is hence obvious that the hand of the brave profligates will always be on top, and it is natural that the peacemakers will come from among the destructors and not from the constructors.

Thus we see how the hope for peace, which our generation so yearns for, is futile both from the perspective of the subject and the perspective of the predicate.

For the subjects, who are the peace-makers of our time and in any generation, meaning those who have the power to make peace in the world, are forever made of the human substance we call “destructors,” for they are seekers of truth, meaning to establish the world on the attribute of “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours.”

It is natural that those people defend their opinions firmly, to the point of risking their own lives and the life of the entire collective. And that is what gives them the power to always prevail over the human substance called, “constructors,” the seekers of mercy and charity, who are willing to give up of their own for the good of others, in order to save the world, because they are the faint-hearted and the coward.

It turns out that seeking truth and the destruction of the world are one and the same, and the desire for mercy and the construction of the world are one and the same, too. Therefore, we should not hope from the destructors to establish the peace.

And it is hopeless to hope for peace from the predicate, meaning by the conditions of peace itself. This is so because the proper conditions for the well-being of the individual and the well-being of the collective, according to the criterion of truth that these peacemakers so desire, have not yet been established. And it is a must that there will always be a large minority in society who are unsatisfied by the conditions offered to them, as we have shown the weakness of the truth above. This minority will therefore always remain a ready and willing fuel for the new quarrelsome people and the new peacemakers that will always follow.

The Well-Being of a Certain Collective and the Well-Being of the Whole World

Do not be surprised if I mix together the well-being of a particular collective with the well-being of the whole world, because indeed, we have already come to such a degree that the whole world is considered one collective and one society. Meaning, because each person in the world draws his life’s marrow and his livelihood from all the people in the world, he is coerced to serve and care for the well-being of the whole world.

We have proven above that the total subordination of the individual to the collective is like a small wheel in a machine. He draws his life and his happiness from that collective, and therefore the well-being of the collective and his own well-being are one and the same, and vice-versa. Therefore, to the extent that a person is enslaved to himself, he necessarily becomes enslaved to the collective, as we have spoken at length above.

And what is the extent of that collective? That is determined by the perimeter of the drawing of the individual from them. For example, in historic times, that perimeter was only the perimeter of one family, meaning the individual needed aid only from his own family members. At that time, he had to be subordinated only to his own family.

In later times, families gathered into towns and counties, and the individual became enslaved to his town. Later, when the towns and counties were joined into states, the individual was supported by all his countrymen for the happiness of his life. Thus, he became enslaved to all the people in the country. Therefore, in our generation, when each person is aided for his happiness by all the countries in the world, it is necessary that to that extent, the individual becomes enslaved to the whole world, like a wheel in a machine.

Therefore, the possibility of making good, happy, and peaceful conducts in one state is inconceivable when it is not so in all the countries in the world, and vice versa. In our time, the countries are all linked in the satisfaction of their needs of life, as individuals were in their families in earlier times. Therefore, we can no longer speak or deal with just conducts that guarantee the well-being of one country or one nation, but only with the well-being of the whole world because the benefit or harm of each and every person in the world depends and is measured by the benefit of all the people in the world.

And although this is, in fact, known and felt, still the people in the world have not yet grasped it properly. And why? Because such is the conduct of the development in nature, that the act comes before the understanding, and only actions will prove and push humanity forward.

In Practical Life, the Four Attributes Contradict One Another

If the above practical difficulties, which disturb us helpless people on our way, are not enough, we have in addition a further mix-up and great battle of the psychological predispositions, meaning the attributes themselves within each and everyone of us individually, which are unique and contradictory to one another. For the four above attributes, mercy, truth, justice, and peace, which were divided in the nature of people, whether by development or by rearing, are in and of themselves contradictory to one another. If we take, for example, the attribute of mercy in its abstract form, we find that its government contradicts all other attributes, meaning that by the laws of the rule of mercy, there is no place for the appearance of the other attributes in our world.

What is the attribute of mercy? Our sages defined it, “What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is yours” – Hasid [3]. And if all the people in the world were to behave by this quality, it would cancel all the glory of the attribute of truth and judgment, because if each and every one were naturally willing to give everything he had to others, and take nothing from another, then the whole interest in lying to one another would disappear. Also, it would be irrelevant to discuss the quality of truth, since truth and falsehood are relative to one another. If there were no falsehood in the world, there would be no concept of truth. Needless to say, all the other attributes, which came only to strengthen the attribute of truth because of its weakness, would be cancelled.

Truth is defined in the words: “What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is yours.” That contradicts the attribute of mercy and cannot altogether tolerate it, since in truth it is unjust to labor and strain for another, because besides failing his friend and accustoming him to exploit others, truth dictates that every person should treasure his own assets for a time of need, so he will not have to be a burden on his fellow man.

Moreover, there is not a person without relatives and heirs that, in fact, should come before others, because so nature dictates that he who gives his property to others lies to his relatives and natural heirs by not leaving them anything.

And peace also contradicts justice because to make peace in the public, there must be conditions that by content promise the nimble and the smart, which invest their energy and wisdom, to become rich, and those who are negligent and naïve, to be poor. Hence, he who is more energetic takes his own share and the share of his negligent friend and enjoys such a good life that there is not enough left for the negligent and naive to merely provide for their necessary livelihood. Hence, they remain completely bare and destitute in many ways.

It is certainly unjust to punish the negligent and the naive so harshly for no evil, for what is their sin and what is the crime of those wretched people, if Providence did not grant them agility and acumen that they should be punished with torments harsher than death?

Therefore, there is no justice whatsoever in the conditions of peace. Peace contradicts justice and justice contradicts peace, because if we order the division of property justly, meaning give to the negligent and naive a substantial portion of the part that the nimble and the energetic have, then these powerful and initiating people will certainly not rest until they overthrow the government that enslaves the great ones, the energetic ones, and exploits them in favor of the weak. Therefore there is no hope for the peace of the collective. Thus, justice contradicts peace.

The Attribute of Singularity in the Egoism Affects Ruin and Destruction

Thus you see how our attributes collide and fight one another; and not only between sects, but within each person, the four attributes dominate him all at once or one at a time and fight within him until it is impossible for common sense to organize them and bring them to complete consent.

The truth is that the root of this whole disorder within us is no more than the above-mentioned attribute of singularity, which exists within each of us, whether more or less.

And although we have clarified that it comes from a sublime reason, that this attribute extends to us directly from the Creator, who is single in the world and the Root of all creations, still, out of the sensation of singularity, when it sits within our narrow egoism, it affects ruin and destruction until it became the source of all the ruins that were and will be in the world.

And indeed, there is not a single person in the world who is free from it, and all the differences are only in the way it is used – for the desires of the heart, for ruling, or for honor – and this is what separates people from one another.

But the equal side in all the people of the world is that each of us stands ready to abuse and exploit all the people for his own private benefit with every means possible, without taking into any consideration that he is going to build himself on the ruin of his friend. And it is inconsequential what allowance each of us gives himself, according to his chosen direction, since the desire is the root of the mind and not the mind the root of desire. In truth, the greater and more outstanding the person, precisely so is his attribute of singularity greater and outstanding.

Using the Nature of Singularity as a Subject of Evolution in the Collective and in the Individual

Now we shall penetrate into the understanding of the direct conditions that will finally be accepted by humanity at the time of the appearance of world peace, and learn how its conditions are good to bring a life of happiness to the individual and to the collective, and the willingness in humanity to want to finally burden themselves with those special conditions.

Let us return to the matter of singularity in the heart of every person, which stands to swallow the whole wide world for his own pleasure. Its root extends directly from the Unique One to the people, which are His branches. Here there is a question that demands an answer: “How can it be that such a corrupted form will appear in us so as to become the father of all harm and ruin in the world, and how from the Source of every construction extends the source of every destruction?” We cannot leave such a question unanswered.

Indeed, there are two sides to the coin of the above-mentioned singularity. If we examine it from its upper side, from the side of its equivalence with the Unique One, it works only in the form of bestowal upon others, for the Creator is all bestowal and has nothing of the form of reception, because He lacks nothing and needs to receive nothing from the creatures He has created. Therefore, the singularity that extends to us from Him must also act only in forms of bestowal to others, and to receive nothing for ourselves.

On the other side of that coin, meaning how it actually works in us, we find that it operates in the complete opposite direction, because it operates only in forms of receptions for oneself, such as the desire to be the only great and rich man in the whole world. Thus, the above two sides are as far apart from one another as the East from the West.

That gives us the solution to our question: “How is it possible that within the same singularity, which stems and comes to us from He Who is Unique in the world, Who is the Source of every construction, serves in us as the source of every destruction?” This has come to us because we use that precious tool in the opposite direction, which is self-reception. And I am not saying that the singularity in us will never act in us in a form of bestowal, because you cannot deny that amongst us are people whose singularity operates in them in the form of bestowal upon others, too, such as those who spend all their money for the common good, and those who dedicate all their efforts to the common good, etc.

But those two sides of the coin that I have described speak only of the two points of the development of Creation, which brings everything to completion, starting in absence, and gradually climbing the degrees of development, from one degree to the next Higher up, and from there to the Higher still, until it comes to the summit, which is its preordained measure of perfection. And there it will remain forever.

The order of development of those two points is, A) the starting point, the lowest degree, which is close to complete absence. It is described as the second side of the coin. B) The summit, where it rests and exists forever. And that is described in the first side of the coin.

But this era that we are in has already developed to a great extent and has already risen many degrees. It has already risen above its lowest phase, which is the above-mentioned second side, and has come significantly closer to the first side.

Therefore, there are already people among us who use their singularity in forms of bestowal upon others. But they are still few, as we are still in the midst of the path of development. When we come to the Highest point of the degrees, we will all be using our singularity only in a form of bestowal upon others, and there will never be any case of any person using it in a form of self-reception.

By those words, we find the opportunity to examine the conditions of life in the last generation – the time of world peace, when the whole of humanity achieves the level of the first side and will use their singularity only in the form of bestowal upon others, and not at all in the form of reception for self. And it is good to copy here the above-mentioned form of life so it will serve to us as a lesson and as a role model to settle our minds under the flood of the waves of our lives. Perhaps it is worthwhile and possible in our generation, too, to experiment in resembling this above form of life.

The Condition of Life in the Last Generation

First, everyone must thoroughly understand and explain to his surroundings that the well-being of society, which is the well-being of the state and the well-being of the world, are completely interdependent. As long as the laws of society are not satisfactory to each and every individual in the state, and leave a minority that is unsatisfied with the government of the state, this minority conspires under the government of the state and seeks to overthrow it.

And if its power is not sufficient to fight the government of the state face to face, it will want to overthrow it indirectly, such as to incite countries against each other and bring them to war, because it is natural that at war time there will be a lot more unsatisfied people with which they will have hope of achieving the critical mass to overthrow the government of the state and establish a new leadership that is convenient for them. Thus, peace of the individual is a direct cause for peace of the state.

Furthermore, if we take into consideration that that part in the state whose craftsmanship is war, which the state always has, and their every hope of success, such as the scholars of war and those who live by supplying the ammunition, that as far as the social quality is concerned, they are always a very significant minority, and if we add them to the unsatisfied minority from the current rules, at every given moment you have a vast amount of people who crave war and bloodshed.

Thus, peace of the world and peace of the state are interdependent. Hence, we necessarily find that even that part of the state which is currently satisfied with its life, which are the nimble and the clever, still have a lot to be concerned about for the safety of their lives, due to the tensions with those who strive to overthrow them. And if they understood the value of peace, they would be happy to adopt the conduct of living of the last generation, for “all that a man has will he give for his life.”

Pain vs. Pleasure in Self-Reception.

Thus, when we examine and thoroughly grasp the above plan, we will see that the whole difficulty lies in changing our nature from a desire to receive for ourselves, to a desire to bestow upon others, since those two things deny one another. At first glance, the plan seems imaginary, as something that is above human nature. But when we delve deeply into it, we will find that the contradiction from reception for oneself to bestowal upon others is nothing but a psychological matter, because in fact we do bestow upon others without benefiting ourselves. This is so because although self-reception manifests itself in us in various ways, such as property, possessions for pleasure of the heart, the eye, the pallet, etc., all those are defined by one name, “pleasure.” Thus, the very essence of reception for oneself that a person desires is nothing but the desire for pleasure.

And now, imagine that if we were to collect all the pleasures one feels during his seventy years of life and put it on one side, and collect all the pain and sorrow one feels on the other side, if we could see the outcome, we would prefer not to have been born at all. And if this is so, then what does one receive during one’s life? If we assume that one obtains twenty percent of pleasure during his lifetime and eighty percent of pain, then if we put them one opposite the other, there would still remain sixty percent of suffering unrewarded.

But this is all a private calculation, as when one works for oneself. But in a global calculation, the individual produces more than he takes for his own pleasure and sustenance. Thus, if the direction were to change from self-reception to bestowal, the individual will enjoy the entire produce he produces without much pain.

[3] Translator’s Note: Hasid means one with the quality of Hesed (mercy).

Back to top
Site location tree