“The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1).
3,000 (and counting) American soldiers have died in Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed by members of their own nation. Iraq is a sad reflection of the state of the world today. According to Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag, this is just the beginning. He wrote that if humanity did not change its course, it would be dragged into a third and even a fourth world war, and those remaining would have to make the change we are required to make today.
It is not a question of good or bad political choices; there is no single evil person leading the world to doom. There is a reason why this is all happening, and the sooner we understand it, the better our situation will become. As the Bible writes, it is not in the hands of kings or rulers to determine where the world is going, it’s in the hand of the force that created and that guides the world. This is why it is written, “To you it was shown that you might know that the Lord, He is God; there is no other besides Him” (Deuteronomy 4:35).
Kabbalist Ashlag also wrote that “there is none else beside Him” meaning that everything we experience, all the good and bad instances and all the friends and foes we see before us are His messengers. If this is how we relate to them, we will discover the Creator through our relationships with the people around us.
Towards the end of his days, Ashlag wrote a series of essays describing the course of events that will unfold in the course of humanity’s achievement of spirituality. While stating that the events were mandatory, he wrote that they could either unfold within us, in the spiritual realm of each person, or outside of us, in the physical world.
In those writings, Ashlag explains that the human ego continuously develops in quantity and quality. We want more money, more power, more sex, more of everything. But at the height of egoism, we will want to control the entire world, know how everything works, and govern it. In short, we will want to become godlike. The Kabbalah, and practically all spiritual texts, explain that the Creator is good and therefore wants to do good to us, His creations. Because there is nothing better than the Creator Himself, He wants to give us everything He can of Himself: all His knowledge and all His powers.
To accomplish that, He created a “school,” a “playground” where we can practice at being Creators. This is our world. The rules of the game are really quite simple:
1. Assume that He is good and therefore wants to do good to you. Granted, you don’t feel it. If you did, you wouldn’t have to choose between being good or not; you’d know what to do to be like Him. That would make you a copycat, as opposed to one who learns through one’s own effort.
2. If He is good, I, too, have to be good. Whom can I be good to, if I can’t find Him? My fellow people. Ok, so I have practice mates, which makes it a team-game.
3. Because He doesn’t tell me that He is good, every time I learn how to be good, it is my own achievement, my own growth. This achievement can never be taken away from me. As a result I “graduate” that level of learning.
4. When I graduate, I get a harder test, just like in school. Then I have to study the relevant material, take the test, graduate, and move to the next grade.
This is how we progress in spirituality. We try to build a better world and a better society, the Creator sends us harder tests and we have to pass them, too. This is why the human ego continuously develops -- the greater the egoism, the harder the test. As I pass each test, I become the “owner” of that degree. I can then choose what to do in each situation and I know how to manage my life correctly. On that degree, I am no longer a puppet on a string.
The atrocities in our world reflect our overblown and untamed egoism. This is something you don’t have to be a Kabbalist to realize. But these ordeals don’t have to appear in the form of tyrants, natural disasters, terrorism or global pandemics. If we channel our growing egos in the right direction at the moment they sprout, they will not have to manifest in such horrendous displays.
The human ego only points to qualities in our soul that are not (yet) similar to Creator. Because of that, we first feel them as slight inconvenience, like a mild headache. As the ego grows and dissimilarity with Him continues, the headache becomes a migraine. But if we work on ourselves within, we will not be compelled to do so from the outside -- using “migraines.” We will feel life as an ongoing revelation, discoveries of countless possibilities to be like the Creator. Our relationships with others will reveal infinite opportunities for similarity with Him, and by consequence we will feel love for others instead of hate. Thus, the harsh school will become a cheerful playground.
For this to happen we need a teaching method. Virtually all orthodox and unorthodox methods teach that we should renounce the ego. Kabbalah states the opposite: if there is none else besides Him, then He is the one who put the ego in us, and He must have done it for a reason. In Kabbalah, kingship is the symbol of egoism. Instead of suppressing egoism, Kabbalah developed study books that teach us how to channel it, just as the Creator does in the opening quote. This is the great revelation that Kabbalah introduces to the world: instead of killing each other, let’s all learn how to be omniscient, almighty, Godlike. Let’s all win.