A student asked me how kabbalists handle rumors about them and false accusations: Do they ignore them altogether or deal with them in some other way?
This is an interesting question because since the dawn of Kabbalah, long before it was even titled “the wisdom of Kabbalah,” kabbalists have had to deal with slander and scorn, and sometimes even with aggression and violence against them. However unpleasant, kabbalists have always treated this phenomenon with patience and understanding, since they knew where it came from.
Humanity is a single, yet broken system. By broken, I mean that we do not feel our connections, and therefore treat each other as aliens or enemies, not realizing that by doing so, we are hurting ourselves, just as in autoimmune illnesses, when the immune system misinterprets elements in the body as aliens and attacks them, thus hurting the entire body.
The whole purpose of the wisdom of Kabbalah is to reveal to us our connectedness and interdependence, and prevent us from hurting each other. In this way, Kabbalah seeks to heal each person and the whole of society simultaneously. However, since we do not feel our connectedness, we subconsciously interpret the efforts of kabbalists and the wisdom of Kabbalah to unite us as a threat to our existence, as though we’re being forced to sit close to a sworn enemy. As a result, we avoid it and warn others to do the same. Although this process happens deep within our subconscious, its manifestations in our world are very real.
As long as humanity evolved on the more basic levels, seeking mainly to satisfy desires for basic needs such as food, sex, family, wealth, power, and knowledge, we did not need the wisdom of Kabbalah. That is, we did not need an awareness of our connection. For this reason, any attempt to introduce Kabbalah was met with fierce rejection.
However, today, we are slowly developing new desires—to know the meaning of life, its origin, and purpose. It is impossible to understand life, and certainly not its purpose, unless we grasp the fact that we are all connected. Just as you cannot understand the human body by examining only one cell, or even one organ, but only by examining the entire body, with all its cells, organs, and (mainly) the connections and interactions among them, so it is impossible to understand life, and certainly not humanity, without understanding the interconnections among all people. This is why these days, many thousands of people from the world over are coming to learn Kabbalah: They want to know how everything works together.
If you look at human history, Kabbalah is a relatively new idea, precisely because it is the final stage in our development. The first kabbalist was Adam, who lived nearly 6,000 years ago. Although he had some students, who passed their knowledge and perceptions to their own students, there was no clear method of teaching, no tenets that one could follow, and therefore no system of circulating the idea of humanity’s inherent unity.
The first to treat Kabbalah as a remedy for humanity was Abraham. This is also why he was the first to encounter resistance from his contemporaries, who refused to hear about connection. Despite the resistance, thousands of people related to Abraham’s words and became his students. He taught them about unity, and they began to practice it among themselves. The uniqueness about Abraham’s students was that they came from clans and tribes that were initially alien and often hostile, yet once they joined Abraham’s students, they became very close to one another.
In forming his group based solely on unity, rather than on blood relations, Abraham had proven the merits of unity. In a sense, his group gained a huge advantage over others since they had become an entire organism while the rest of the people remained as separate cells or organs.
The hatred that Abraham’s group had experienced, and particularly Abraham himself, is the root of the hatred we now refer to as “antisemitism.” At its very deepest level, it is the resistance of the ego to unite with anyone or anything, for fear of losing its own identity. The deep sensation that unity is the best way to live, coupled with the objection of the ego to accept it and relinquish its dominance, creates a dissonance that is very hard for people to deal with. As a result, they hate the messengers of the idea of unity—the descendants of Abraham’s group—the Jews.
Abraham’s group evolved into the people of Israel. For many centuries, they lived by the principles prescribed by Abraham, namely that unity is the underlying principle on which all the rules of the Jewish people are constructed. This is why our sages said that “Love your neighbor as yourself” is the great rule of the Torah. However, in the end, Jews, too, succumbed to the raging egos within them and became as everyone else—selfish and oblivious to the principle of unity as the basis of Judaism and to their obligation to set an example of unity, as did Abraham with his group.
The result of the Jews abandoning the principle of unity was resistance to Kabbalah. Indeed, antisemitism of the nations toward Jews stems from the same fear that causes Jews to object to Kabbalah—the resistance of the ego to the necessity to unite, to the fact that we are all connected, no matter how hard we try to deny it.
Despite all the efforts of our egos, reality proves that we are all connected. With each passing day, we are discovering more ways and more fibers that connect us. And the more we discover our connectedness, the more we realize that the wisdom of Kabbalah is imperative to our understanding of the world around us. In the coming months and years, everyone, from simple folk to world leaders, will discover that without understanding the intricacies of our connections, they will not be able to manage their lives, and certainly not to lead nations. The wisdom of Kabbalah will have to show itself as a method by which to understand the world and establish connections among people that match the interconnected reality of humanity, and all of reality.
For more on the topic of resistance to Kabbalah, please see my publication, A Very Narrow Bridge: The fate of the Jewish people.