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Internality and Externality

Bear in mind that in everything there is internality and externality. Israel, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is generally considered the internality of the world, and the seventy nations are considered the externality of the world.

–Baal HaSulam,

“Introduction to The Book of Zohar”


The people of Israel are analogous to the key organs in the collective body of humanity—the brain, heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys—which operate the rest of the organs in the body. When these organs function incorrectly, the whole body suffers and grows ill.

Thus, the process of healing human egoism depends on the success of healing the people of Israel. The rest of the body will be healed by consequence, smoothly and easily. Because Nature’s plan positioned the people of Israel to be in charge of the state of the world, we are considered the internality of the world, while the rest of the nations are considered the externality of the world.

In fact, whatever you examine, you will discover that it contains an internal part and an external part. The internal part in the object is called “Israel” and the external part is called “the nations of the world.” For example, any person awakened to correct his or her ego, comprises two kinds of desires: Israel—the desire to achieve equilibrium with the altruistic Nature, and the Nations of the World—the egoistic desires.

Perfect balance with Nature is achieved only when all of one’s egoistic desires are balanced with the altruistic Nature. It follows that everything in the world works in a similar manner. Thus, only when all people are corrected will we achieve the complete correction of human egoism. However, those who comprise Israel bear a decisive influence on the process, arising from the order of the correction rooted in Nature’s plan.

When an individual from Israel raises one’s internality, the altruistic desire, above one’s externality, the egoistic desire, one strengthens the internality among others from Israel and in the nations of the world. In doing so, the people of Israel come closer to carrying out their task, and, as a result, the nations of the world will want to support and be closer to us.

If, on the other hand, one from Israel extols and appreciates one’s egoistic externality above one’s altruistic internality, that person raises the value of externality above internality on all other levels, too. In consequence, the people of Israel grow farther from carrying out their duty, and the nations of the world overpower us and degrade us.

This perception, which positions the individual from Israel as the designer of relations in the whole of reality, is expressed in Baal HaSulam’s words: “Do not be surprised that the actions of one person bring ascent or descent to the entire world. … Moreover, the parts compose everything that is in the whole.” (“Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” item 68).

In his book, Orot HaKodesh (Lights of Sanctity), Rav Kook introduces a similar idea: “The magnitude of the value of man’s power of will, and how crucial is his degree in reality, is yet to be revealed in the world through the secrets of the Torah (Kabbalah). And this revelation will be the crown of the whole of science.”

Hence, although the people of Israel are few, they contain the necessary power and strength to carry out

the required correction in the entire world. The awakening of the other nations depends entirely on the extent to which a person from Israel prefers internality to externality, or the Israel within over the internal nations of the world within.

Actually, the people of Israel determine the relationships between themselves and the nations of the world. The nations of the world are rising against us because we are empowering them. By increasing the importance of our egoistic part above our altruistic part, we are making the nations of the world overpower us on the outside, too.

If we could elevate ourselves even a bit toward equilibrium with Nature’s altruism, our enemies would not want to fight us. And if we rose one more bit, they would become friends. It is a direct reaction, completely irrespective of them. We, in fact, operate them!

If we touched that intrinsic point, our enemies would immediately discover completely different desires within them, as if the day before had been erased. They would begin to feel that with our help, they could reach eternity and perfection.

Thus, to the extent that we disparage internality, humanity disparages us. If we extol the importance of realizing Nature’s goal, humanity will regard us as the owners of the method that leads to happiness. This is the law of internality and externality, and it cannot be changed.

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