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Michael Laitman, PhD

The Height of Creation

Think back to Chapter 15, where we said that the source of all the suffering in the world is a result of our oppositeness from the rest of nature. All other parts of nature—still, vegetative, and animate—follow nature’s commandments instinctively and definitively. Only human behavior places us in contrast to the still, vegetative, and animate nature.

Because humanity is the height of nature’s creation, all other parts of nature depend on us. Through our correction, all parts of nature, the entire universe, will rise to its initial, perfect level, in complete unity with the Creator.

A Domino Effect

As we have said, the Creator treats all of us as a single, united being. We have tried to achieve our goals egoistically, but today we are discovering that our problems will be solved only collectively and altruistically.

The more conscious we become of our egoism, the more we will want to use the method of Kabbalah to change our nature to altruism. We did not do it when Kabbalah first appeared, but we can do it now because now we know we need it.

The past 5,000 years of human evolution have been a process of trying one method, examining the pleasures it provides, exhausting it, and leaving it for another. Methods came and went, and we have grown more prosperous, but not happier.

Now that the method of Kabbalah has appeared in force, aimed to correct the highest level of egoism, we no longer have to tread the path of disillusionment. We can simply correct our worst egoism through Kabbalah, and all other corrections will follow like a domino effect. During this correction, we can feel fulfillment, inspiration, and joy.

To review a little of the history presented in Chapters 5 and 6, The Book of Zohar states that starting from the end of the twentieth century, humanity will reach the maximum level of egoism and, at the same time, the maximum spiritual impoverishment in it. At that point, humanity will need a new method in order to survive.

Then, according to The Zohar, it will be possible to disclose Kabbalah, as the method of humanity’s moral ascent to similarity with the Creator. This is why Kabbalah is revealed to humankind in these times.

Humanity is not corrected by everybody all at once. Rather, correction of humanity occurs to the extent that each person realizes his personal and general crisis, as covered in the last chapter.

Correction starts with a human being realizing that his or her egoistic nature is the source of all evil. Later, by changing the values of society, a person is subjected to society’s influence.

The individual and one’s social environment, the entirety of humanity, are bound by collective responsibility. In other words, humanity wanted to solve its problem egoistically and, hence, individually. Meanwhile, it found itself inevitably obliged to solve the problem collectively and, hence, altruistically.

In this respect, it is worth reflecting on Baal HaSulam’s four factors that comprise us, which he explains in his essay, “The Freedom,” and which we introduced in Chapter 3. To review and expand, the first factor is the source, the foundation, our inherent traits, which we cannot change because we inherit them from our parents. The second is how this source evolves, which we are also unable to change because it’s determined by the source. The third factor is the environment, which we cannot change once we are in it.

The fourth factor, however, is the changes in the environment, and those we can and must change by choosing the environment that is right for us. The fourth factor affects the third, which affects the second, which affects the first. By building the right environment for our spiritual purposes, we build a society that not only changes us toward spirituality, but also makes everybody else’s way to spirituality much easier and faster. Now let’s see how we can put this theory into practice.

Let’s Agree on Giving

If everyone thinks giving is good, then I, too, will think giving is good, out of my own egoistic interest. This is so because altruistic behavior is profitable for all.

Altruism rules in education, for instance. Schools teach us to be altruists. We are told to be honest, hard-working, and respectful of others; to share with others what we have; to be friendly; and to love our neighbors. All this happens because altruism is beneficial to society.

Furthermore, the biological laws of living organisms teach us that the existence of an organism depends on the cooperative work of all its parts, as recounted in Chapters 15 and 16.


Spiritual Sparks

Anyone who is experienced knows that there is one issue in the world, which is the greatest of all imaginable pleasures, namely finding grace in the eyes of people, for which every effort is worthwhile.

—Rav Yehuda Ashlag


Similarly, the perception of the benefits of altruistic behavior is present in an egoistic human society. No one actively opposes altruistic acts. On the contrary, every organization and public figure advertises his, her, or its involvement in altruistic actions and takes pride in them. No one overtly denounces the spreading of altruistic ideals.

The Power in the Appreciation of Society

The means to change our behavior from egoistic to altruistic is to change our priorities and value hierarchy. We need to be convinced that bestowal to society is much more important and worthwhile than receiving from it. In other words, each person must come to feel much greater fulfillment from giving to society than from any egoistic acquisition.

Public opinion is the only means to facilitate this goal because the single most important thing for every person is the appreciation of society. Humans are built in such a way that receiving the sympathy of society is the purpose of life.

This element is so intrinsic that people tend to deny that the purpose of every action is to acquire society’s appreciation. We might claim that we are motivated by curiosity or even money, but we would not admit to the real incentive: the recognition of society.

We are built in such a way that the human environment determines all our predilections and values. We are entirely and involuntarily controlled by public opinion. This is why society can infuse its members with any mode of behavior and any value, even the most abstract or absurd.

Denounce Egoism and Extol Altruism

Modifying society’s tasks will require changing the education systems, starting from a very early age, as well as cardinal transformations in all areas of education and culture. All media will have to praise and evaluate events according to their benefit to society, thus creating an environment of education for bestowal upon society. Using every means of mass media, advertisement, persuasion, and education, the new public opinion should openly and resolutely denounce egoistic actions and extol altruistic actions as the ultimate value.

Through society’s purposeful influence, everyone will aspire to receive only what is necessary for sustenance from society and spare no effort to benefit society, in order to receive society’s appreciation. At first, everyone will work to benefit society under environmental encouragement and influence. People will feel satisfied, and we will begin to see the act of bestowal upon society as the ultimate unique value, even without reward from the environment for each act of giving.

It isn’t just social institutions that need to change. So must the most prevalent and, in some ways, most “dug in” social institution: the family.

If my children at home look at me and appreciate me according to society’s appreciation of me, and if my children appreciate me according to how much I give to society, then I am more likely to change.

If my kin and co-workers and generally everyone appreciate me only according to what I give to society, then I will not have a choice. I will have to contribute. I will have to become a net giver to all.

All this activity will raise the level of human consciousness to the level of a new civilization.


Off Course

We must be very careful here. Past attempts to use society and kin to altering social values have produced the most terrible atrocities, including the Nazis and Stalin’s communism. This is not what Kabbalah refers to when it suggests that we use society to change our values. Kabbalah merely suggests that we encourage everyone that giving is profitable and pleasurable. Then, when more people believe it, I, too, will believe it, even if at first I was coaching others to believe it without believing it myself.


“Rabbi Ashlag was passionately committed to that far-reaching social vision, as it emerged from his understanding of the Kabbalistic tradition,” writes Micha Odenheimer in Latter-Day Luminary: “He grasped humanity as a single entity, both physically and spiritually interdependent, and believed that only an economic system that recognized this could liberate humankind and catalyze an era of collective enlightenment.”

By developing a community based on love among its members and a society founded on economic justice, Odenheimer writes, Kabbalah provides a focus on individual consciousness and the mending of society and the world. Rabbi Ashlag’s contribution is a “concept of social justice founded on the spiritual science of Kabbalah.”

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