A Time For Action

by Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag

The Messiah sits at the gate to Jerusalem and awaits people worthy of redemption. He is fettered, and he needs whole people to untie his chains. He has had more than his fill of pious adherents; now he is fervently seeking men of truth.

–From the sayings of The Rabbi of Kotzk, There Is None So Whole as a Broken Heart, p.115

For a long time now, my conscience has burdened me with a demand to come out and create a fundamental composition regarding the essence of Judaism, religion, and the wisdom of Kabbalah, and spread it among the nation, so people will come to know and properly understand these exalted matters in their true meaning.

Previously in Israel, prior to the development of the printing industry, there were no fallacious books among us relating to the essence of Judaism, as there were almost no writers who could not stand behind their words, for the simple reason that in most cases, an irresponsible person is not famous.

Therefore, if by chance, one dared to write such a composition, no scribe would copy it, as he would not be paid for his labor, which, for the most part was quite considerable. Thus, such a composition was doomed from the start to be lost.

In those days, knowledgeable people, too, had no interest in writing such books, since the populace did not need that knowledge. Quite the contrary, they had an interest in hiding it in secret chambers for the reason that “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing.” We were commanded to conceal the essence of the Torah and the work from those who did not need it, or were unworthy of it, and to not degrade it by displaying it in shop windows for the lusting eyes of the boasting, because thus the glory of God demands.

But ever since the printing of books has become popular, and writers are no longer in need of scribes, the price of books has been reduced. This has paved the way for irresponsible writers to publish whatever books they please, for money or for glory. But they do not take their own actions into account and do not examine the consequences of their work.

chanoch's Commentary

This applies not only to books but to the actions of a person's life. We all need to do Cheshbon HaNefesh every day. Cheshbon HaNefesh is the accounting of the soul. What did you do today? Did you hurt someone? Did you miss an opportunity to help someone today? Did you try your best today? Or do your worst today? Could you have done better today? A Cheshbon HaNefesh strives to change the answers to these questions to always be better today than they were yesterday.

From that time on, publications of the aforementioned kind have significantly increased, without any learning or reception mouth-to-mouth from a qualified Rav, and even without knowledge of earlier books that dealt with this topic. Such writers fabricate theories of their own empty shells, and relate their words to the most exalted matters, to thus portray the essence of the nation and its fabulous treasure. As fools, they know not how to be scrupulous, nor have a way by which to learn it. They instill faulty views to generations, and in return for their petty lusts they sin and make the nations sin for generations to come.

chanoch's Commentary

Who is your teacher's teacher? What is the motivation of your teacher? Is it a positive motivation or a selfish motivation? As a student of Kabbalah one must ask these questions and act on the answers.

Recently, their stench has soared upward because they have plunged their nails into the wisdom of the Kabbalah, not minding that this wisdom has been locked and chained behind a thousand doors to this day, that no person may understand the true meaning of even a single word of it, much less the connection between one word and the next.

That is because in all the genuine books that were written to this day, there are but clues that barely suffice for a knowledgeable disciple to understand their true meaning, from the mouth of a wise and qualified Kabbalist sage. And there, too, “the arrowsnake makes her nest, and lay, and hatch, and brood under her shadow.” These days, such conspirators multiply, who make such delights that disgust those who behold them.

Some of them even go as far as to presume and to assume the place of the leaders of the generation, and they pretend to know the difference between the ancient books and tell which of them is worthy of study and which is not, since it is filled with fallacies, and they arouse contempt and wrath. Until today, the work of scrutiny had been limited to one in ten leaders of a generation; and now the ignorant abuse it.

Therefore, the perception of these matters by the public has been greatly corrupted. In addition, there is an atmosphere of frivolity and people think that a glance at one’s leisure is sufficient for the study of such exalted matters. They skim over the ocean of wisdom and the essence of Judaism in a glance, like that angel, and draw conclusions based on their own mood.

These are the reasons that have prompted me to go out of my way and decide that it is time to “do for the Lord” and salvage what can still be salvaged. Thus, I have taken upon myself to reveal some of the true essence, which relates to the above matter, and spread it among the nation.

chanoch's Commentary

Do you want to learn Kabbalah? Do you want to jump through the hoops created by past teachers in order to learn these truths based on wisdom? Rabbi Ashlag is telling us that it is time and to careful who we choose to be our teachers.