According to the World Health Organization (WHO), someone around the
globe commits suicide every 40 seconds. In the year 2000 (a long time
ago, but things have only worsened since), 815,000 people lost their
lives to suicide -- more than double the number of people who die as a
direct result of armed conflict every year (306,600). For people
between the ages of 15 and 44, suicide is the fourth leading cause of
death and the sixth leading cause of disability and infirmity
worldwide. Also, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and
Health (NSDUH), “Combined 2004 and 2005 data indicate that 8.88 percent
of youths aged 12 to 17 and 7.65 percent of adults aged 18 or older
experienced at least one major depressive episode (MDE) in the past
Millions of people the world over, and especially the younger generation, are committing suicide or suffering from suicidal tendencies, depression, drug addiction, and violence because they’re hopeless. They have real questions and they need real answers, and there is no one to provide them with answers except us -- the parents.
In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl states Friedrich Nietzsche as saying that “He who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how.”
Sure enough, a meaning is what we need. In the very beginning of his introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag states why the wisdom of Kabbalah should not be hidden anymore; why it should now be shared with the whole world, and specifically with those who ask, “What is the meaning of my life?” Ashlag explains that the wisdom of Kabbalah is a method by which one can learn not only about the meaning of one’s life in general, but also discover the beauty and profound purpose of every single moment. He warns that if we do not share the wisdom of Kabbalah with the whole world we will be subject to unprecedented torments. Regrettably, decades after the publishing of The Study of the Ten Sefirot, we are learning how true his words were.
But the truth contained in the wisdom of Kabbalah was not always hidden. Until the ruin of the Second Temple, around the 1st century CE, the Kabbalistic truth about life’s meaning was public domain, known to the whole of the people of Israel. Now Kabbalists are telling us that the wisdom within this ancient lore must become public domain not only for the Jewish people, but also for the entire world.
The essence of the knowledge that the wisdom of Kabbalah conveys is fairly simple to grasp: The whole of existence runs on a single law: the law of giving, unity, and reciprocity. In nature, everything is united; and if it doesn’t seem that way to us, it is because of our inability to see the underlying connections. Therefore, if you know this common law and how to work with it, you know the key to a good life in the present and for all time. Teaching this law is the essence of spiritual (Kabbalistic) education.
Building on Spiritual Principles
Spiritual education has been the heart of the Jewish nation from its very beginning. It has been the essential means for the existence of the Israeli society in past times.
Indeed, from the reception of the Torah until the ruin of the Second Temple, old and young alike had lived in unity and with clear perception of life’s common law. Moses established the spiritual education, and children learned from a very early age to perceive reality based on its roots, which Kabbalists call “the Upper Worlds.”
Yet, after the ruin of the Second Temple, the nation lost its perception of spirituality, though the importance of education remained rooted deep in the hearts of people. Thus, instead of spirituality, education promoted superficial knowledge. But despite the prosperity that knowledge provides, the younger generation, once a symbol of the future, are now catalyzing the crisis, compelling us to “face the music” and mend the growing dissonance in our society.
The old values that sustained our society thus far are rejected by the young generation. Ironically, it is a very sober generation, which can’t be lead into false euphoria with just any ideology; we must provide them with a truth that lasts, beyond vogue and schools of thought. In other words, we have to give them the truth about the way the world is working -- tell them about the law of life, and what they can do to master it.
They needn’t all become Kabbalists. The fact that we all watch television doesn’t mean that we all understand the laws of physics that makes the screen display the images. It does, however, mean that we all know which button switches the TV on, and which button changes the channels. Similarly, a (very) limited amount of spiritual -- Kabbalistic -- knowledge will be required.
Law of Giving, Unity, and Reciprocity
The wisdom of Kabbalah deals with education and with the building of society as a means to attain the Upper Force -- the force that creates and operates the whole of reality. In their writings, Kabbalists reveal the evolution that every person should undergo in a spirituality-based society. Just as each soul receives what it needs from its environment in the spiritual worlds, a person should receive the right education in each phase of his or her life.
In a society based on the principles of Kabbalah, we can learn from childhood to appreciate life on a deeper level. We will understand that this world is far richer than our five senses can perceive. From an early age, we will learn through games and examples to identify the causes and the latent forces that control reality. Thus, we will know the spiritual laws of giving, unity, and reciprocity, learn to use them correctly, and be able to live in harmony and in balance with nature.
Bridging the Generation Gap
Children can only implement what they have learned after observing examples set by adults. Proper education stems solely from personal example. One of the problems in today’s world is that we behave opposite to what we teach. For example, while we teach altruistic values of giving and sharing, we conduct ourselves to the contrary.
Such contradictions evoke confusion and disrespect in children toward their parents. However, in an education system based on the law of giving and unity, the parents’ personal examples of altruistic values will be in harmony with what they teach. Education will result from mutual responsibility; it will unite the generations.
Thus, spiritual education is the means to promote the whole of society. As the younger generation will be assisted by the experience of adults, they will follow their example in learning how to overcome their egos. By so doing, youth will appreciate the parents’ generation, which in turn will strengthen the bond of love between parents and offspring.
The future society that Kabbalists have always yearned for can be built through spiritual education, and it can be built today. It is enough to educate one generation to “kick-start” the process.
This will create a society untainted by generation gap and by egoism. All parts of society will co-ordinate to create a harmonious, united humanity, in which all are happy and content.