This class is based on the Translation by Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum of the Sefer Mishkney Elyon which translates as "The Upper Temple" by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto ("Ramchal"). Rabbi Greenbaum titled his translation as "Secrets of the Future Temple." It is available online.
Our tradition teaches that The Upper Temple will descend to Earth and will be completed by human beings and become the well desired Third Temple. This Sefer reveals many kabbalistic aspects of the Temple and the Services Performed within and around the Temple.
This section is a translation and also includes commentary by Rabbi Greenbaum. I will refer to it as the Translation yet i will comment on both the Translation and Rabbi Greenbaum's Commentary.
Rabbi Elazar said: What does Isaiah mean when he says, "And many peoples will go and say: 'Come let us go up to the Mountain of God, to the House of the God of Jacob'"? Why the God of Jacob and not the God of Abraham and Isaac? The answer is: Not like Abraham, who saw it as a Mountain ("as it is said this day, On the mountain God is seen" - Genesis 22:14). And not like Isaac, for whom it was a Field ("And Isaac went out to pray in the field" - Genesis 24:63). But like Jacob, who called it a House: "And he called the name of that place the House of God" (Genesis 28:19) (Pesachim 88a).
Both the Prophet Isaiah and the Prophet Ezekiel speak of God's House and other metaphorical statements that describe God and his environs. The Talmud describes Ezekiel's vision as coming from a village dweller while Isaiah's vision come from a city dweller. The academics teach that Ezekiel speaks from the frame of the transcendent while Isaiah speaks from the frame of the large perspective.
The Zohar teaches us that Avraham is a metaphor for the soul prior to perfection. In effect Avraham represents the process of working toward perfection. Isaac represents the soul after perfection metaphorically speaking.
When Abraham sees a Mountain he is seeing his road ahead which as we know has been long and difficult. When Isaac sees a Field he is still looking at a road but one that is less difficult to travel. A road that is level without the ups and downs of climbing the Mountains. Jabob is a Name that comes from the heel of the body. The Tradition teaches that when the Upper Temple descends it will be completed by mankind with the placing of the Gates upon the Temple Walls. This can only be done by Mankind at the level of Jacob the Heel since both the Heel and the Gates represent the Sefirah of Malchut. Also, know that the Torah and all its teachings are metaphors for the Sefirot.
Returning to the Translation
The story of the quest for the Temple begins with the patriarch Abraham, who changed the entire course of human history by finding God and teaching the world about Him. According to tradition Abraham was abandoned in a cave as a tiny baby but miraculously survived. When at last he crawled out of the cave, it was night. He looked up in wonder at the millions and millions of stars high in the heavens. He said, "These must certainly be the most powerful forces in the whole universe. These must be the gods." But when dawn came and the stars disappeared, he said, "Those little lights can't be gods because something else has outshone them. When the sun rose and shone in all its glory, Abraham said, "This is the most powerful force. This is God." But when the sun declined and set, Abraham understood that the sun is also not God. When the moon appeared, Abraham realized that none of them is God. All were created by one supreme God Who alone has dominion over the heavens above and the earth below.
Abraham devoted his life to seeking out and revealing the unified Power that underlies the manifest plurality of creation. Abraham's search for God is expressed not only in the biblical narrative but also in Sefer Yetzirah, the "Book of Formation," foundation text of the Kabbalah, which is attributed to him. In it he presents the twenty-two letters of the Aleph Beit as the fundamental coordinates and elements of creation, showing how to combine and manipulate these Letters of Creation in order to channel beneficial influences through meditation and prayer.
Rabbi Greenbaum limits information about the Sefer Yetzirah that i feel is a disservice to both the current generation and to the source of the Sefer Yetzirah. The Sefer Yetzirah is a Book of outreach written by Avraham Avinu to his generation, which includes all generations throughout world history. The Sefer Yetzirah originally had 400 chapters that taught each and every soul a method to experience the Creator on the level that each soul had reached. Kabbalah teaches that there are 125 levels of consciousness which actually is 7 billion individual experiences of the Creator. Over the centuries from Avraham to Rabbi Akiva the generations fell spiritually and due to that fall we lost the merit to have all 400 chapters and there were only 72 verses left to humanity. Rabbi Akiva reorganized these 72 Verses into 6 chapters. This is the Sefer Yetzirah that has come down to us today.
These 6 chapters of 72 verses were designed through the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) of Rabbi Akiva we have all of the tools necessary to prepare ourselves for the return of Prophecy which is Prophecized.
Not everyone needs to become a Prophet; yet each person needs to have a personal experience of the Creator that is at the level they wish it to be. Even the Atheists has a personal experience of the Creator. The Sefer Yetzirah teach each and every human being the tools and personal practices that will achieve that personal experience.
Returning to the Translation
Abraham made his life one of selfless service to God in all he did. His mission was to bring God "down to earth" by following the path of kindness and justice in practical everyday life. Abraham's vision was of a land whose people serve God in the way they grow and harvest their crops, eat and drink, buy and sell, marry, have children and go about their other affairs.
Thus Abraham received the prophetic call: "Go to the Land that I will show you" (Genesis 12:1). He had to search until he found the place most fitted for this exalted purpose. Even when he came to the Land, he was tested time after time. Until at last he received God's command: "Take your son, your only son whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as an offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you" (ibid. 22:2).
"On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar" (ibid. v. 4). With his prophet's eyes, Abraham knew as soon as he saw it that this was "The Place". At the climax of his lifelong search for the Source, here at Mount Moriah Abraham finally reached the center point where the Earth connects with the worlds above it. This mountain is the place of Even Shetiyah, the "Foundation Stone" from which the Earth emanated like a fetus growing out from its belly. This was the place where Adam was created, and here he sacrificed. Here Noah sacrificed after the flood. This was a fitting place for Abraham to "offer up" his son Isaac: to elevate him to a life of perfect submission to the will of God. Abraham called the place "the Mountain where God sees and is seen" (ibid. v.14).
The service to which Isaac was called was that of the heart: prayer, in which we reconnect with our spiritual roots through the use of words formed through combinations of the Letters of Creation. "And Isaac went out to pray in the field" (ibid. 24:63). Isaac's chosen field of labor was none other than the mountaintop where he came face to face with his destiny. Isaac turned this lofty mountain of self-sacrifice into something more attainable: a "field" of regular spiritual discipline.
It was to this same mountain-field that Isaac's son Jacob came when he was forced to flee from his brother Esau. As the sun went down, Jacob built a primitive structure where he could lie down and sleep. There he dreamed the dream of prophecy: "There was a ladder set on the ground and its top reached the heavens. Angels of God were going up and down on it, and God was standing over him. Jacob awoke from his sleep and he said, 'Indeed God is in this place. How awesome is this place. This is none other than the House of God and this is the Gate of Heaven'" (ibid. 28:12, 16-17).
Jacob recognized this as the place where Heaven and Earth meet, the spot where angels "go up" to Heaven on the wings of our prayers and angels "come down" with blessing and sustenance for the whole world. For Abraham it was a lofty mountain. For Isaac it was a field of disciplined labor. Jacob now brought the Temple idea within everyone's grasp, establishing the stone on which he rested his head as the foundation of God's "House".
Please understand what Rabbi Greenbaum is saying about Issac and Jacob. Isaac is a metaphor for the soul after tikune. This represents the energy of Mashiach. When Rabbi Greenbaum is saying that Isaac transformed The Mountain into a field of regular spiritual discipline he is referring to the period of time associated with the Birthpangs of Mashiach not the 1000 years that represents complete Mashiach energy. After all the male organ has two components - the stem and the crown. Mashiach has two components just as there are two Mashiach's - Mashiach Ben Joseph and Mashiach Ben David. These two men relate to the Birthpangs of Mashiach and the complete energy of Mashiach.
Returning to the Translation
The idea of a house can be understood by all, as opposed to that of a mountain or field, which are more remote from most people's experience. Just as we dwell in our homes and houses, carrying out our most basic daily functions there, so the Divine Presence may be said to "dwell" in a House appropriately designed and conducted. The House that Jacob's descendants were to build on this spot would be a sign for all humanity of God's presence in the world. The establishment of this House was the end goal of the journey of destiny on which Jacob now set forth.
In order to build the physical House known as the Temple, the People, each one, needs to build a Temple in their own heart. These are paraphrased words of the Torah.
Years after his dream of the ladder, when Jacob went with his children into exile in Egypt, he planted trees. These were to provide the beams his descendants would need to build the Sanctuary when they went out of Egypt. This was the Temple prototype that they would carry with them in the wilderness and erect at all their encampments.
"And God said to Moses: Tell the Children of Israel to take for Me an offering. and let them make Me a Sanctuary and I will dwell in their midst. According to all that I show you, the design of the dwelling-place and the design of all its utensils, so shall you make it" (Exodus 25:1).
The Bible gives a detailed account of the design of the Sanctuary and its vessels (Exodus chapters 25-31). The chief craftsman was Bezalel son of Uri of the tribe of Judah. The Midrash relates that when Moses saw Bezalel's ready grasp of the design, he said: "You must have been in the shadow of God (Betzel El, a play on Bezalel) when He showed me the design, and that's how you knew" (Berachot 55a). For "the design of the Sanctuary corresponds to the underlying scheme of creation" (Tikuney Zohar, Introduction p.12). The Rabbis taught: "Bezalel knew how to combine the letters with which heaven and earth were created" (ibid.). That is, he understood the different ways in which the supreme lights contained in the Letters of Creation combine to bring this world into being and sustain all its creatures. Correspondingly, he understood how to construct the physical Sanctuary in such a way that these lights would shine forth to all the creatures in the world in order to provide them with sustenance and blessing.
After the Israelites entered the Land of Israel they set up the Sanctuary in Gilgal and then built a more permanent structure in Shilo and subsequently in Nov and Givon. The secrets of the design of the Sanctuary were handed down from generation to generation until they were entrusted to the prophet Samuel and the messianic King David. Having conquered Jerusalem, David instructed his son Solomon to build the Temple. "Then David gave to Solomon his son the design of the vestibule and buildings and treasuries and upper rooms and inner chambers and the place of the Ark.. All this in writing as God has made me wise with His hand upon me, all the works of this design" (I Chronicles 28:11 and 19).
Solomon began building the Temple in the year 2928 (832 B.C.E.) according to the traditional Jewish reckoning, and completed it seven years later. The design of Solomon's Temple is explained in detail in the First Book of Kings (chapters 6-7). Once the Temple was built in Jerusalem, it was strictly forbidden for Jews to build a temple or offer sacrifices anywhere else.
Every human being has free will except for the King (leader of any human organization including Presidents, Prime Minister, and other Titles. King David has/had a strong desire to build the Temple but was told that since his hand had significant blood upon them he could not build it and only his son would be given permission to do so. Yet his desire was so strong (meaning the desire of his generation) he started accumulating material to be used in the Temple. This is one of the reasons that the First Temple was destroyed in my opinion. After all part of the level of Chochmah/Binah in building a building is to contract with the builder who purchases the material. King David's bloody hands was involved with this material accumulation for the Temple.
Returning to the Translation
Solomon's Temple inaugurated an unprecedented period of peace, prosperity and cultural flowering. But having been built by human agency, this Temple could not last forever. When people abandoned the ideals it embodied, the Divine Presence departed, for it cannot dwell amidst corruption and evil. After standing for four hundred and ten years, the First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in the year 3338 (422 B.C.E.) and the Jews went into exile for seventy years. They repented and returned to the Land, and started building the Second Temple in the year 3408 (352 B.C.E.). It stood for four hundred and twenty years until its destruction by the Romans in the year 3828 (68 C.E.).
Full details of the design and rituals of the Second Temple were carefully preserved by the early generations of Tannaim, teachers of the Mishneh, who had actually seen the Temple and taken part in its ceremonies. The design of the Temple is the subject of the mishnaic tractate Middot ("Measurements") while its rituals are discussed in the other tractates in the order of Kodshim ("Holy Matters") and many other places throughout the Talmud.
But from the time of its destruction by the Romans, the Temple ceased to be a tangible reality in the world and instead became a distant dream. Jews have prayed daily for the realization of this dream ever since, even under the worst conditions of exile and persecution.
"In the twenty-fifth year of our exile on the New Year, on the tenth day of the month in the fourteenth year after the city was struck, on this very day the hand of God was upon me and He brought me there. In visions of God He brought me to the Land of Israel and set me down upon a very high mountain where there was the likeness of a city to the south. And He brought me there, and behold: there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a cord of linen in his hand and a measuring rod; and he stood in the gate. And the man said to me: 'Son of man, see with your eyes and hear with your ears and set your heart on all that I will show you, for it is in order to show you that you have been brought here. Declare all that you see to the House of Israel'" (Ezekiel 40:1-4).
i have not studyied or analyzied these verses from Ezekiel Kabbalistically, i did notice something in this translation that caused me to question if it is accurately expressing the meaning of the Hebrew. Looking at the second verse the phrase "likeness of a city to the south." In another translation the word likeness was changed to "frame." There is some dispute presently going on among archaeologists regarding the location of the Temple and the Temple Mount. There are many differences in opinion about the Temple and the Temple mount including this teaching about the Temple. One discussion not yet discussed is the name of the part of the Temple called the Women's Court. There is indication that women were not kept separate within the Temple grounds, although this is not clear and is argued by a very small minority.
When we look at the phrase "likeness of a city to the south." The city of Jerusalem is not just to the south of the Temple Mount. One way to understand this phrase is to relate the essence of Jerusalem must rise to the level of its Name "Comeplete Awe" and then even higher to the level of south meaning in the Language of Branches LOVING KINDNESS.
Returning to the Translation
Shortly after the destruction of the First Temple, the prophet Ezekiel saw a vision of the Third Temple with all its buildings, gateways and courtyards in all their details. The entire vision is recorded in the Book of Ezekiel (chapters 40-43:17).
There is an apparent contradiction in the opening verse of this prophecy, which dates it "on the New Year, on the tenth day of the month." (Ezekiel 40:1). The Rabbis taught: "In which year is the New Year celebrated on the tenth of Tishri (and not at its usual time on the first of that month)? This was the Jubilee year [the fiftieth year in the count of sabbatical years, see Leviticus 25:9], fourteen years after the destruction of the Temple and twenty-five years after the exile of Jehoiachin" (Rashi ad loc. and Erchin 12a).
The Jubilee year is one of complete redemption in which all slaves go free, everyone returns to their ancestral lands and everything begins afresh. In kabbalistic thought, Yovel, the Jubilee, is associated with the redemptive sefirah of Binah, "Understanding", which has "Fifty Gates".
In Ezekiel's vision on this auspicious day, he rose in his prophetic Binah to a level beyond created space and time. He was thus able to see beyond the Second Temple that would rise fifty-six years later. He saw beyond its destruction over four hundred years afterwards, beyond the thousands of years of exile, trials and tribulations that were to follow. Ezekiel already saw a vision of the ultimate Heavenly Temple, which is destined to descend to earth at the climax of history as we know it and stand eternally on Mount Moriah.
Twenty years prior to this vision of the Heavenly Temple, as Ezekiel stood in exile in Babylon by the side of the River Kvar, "The heavens were opened and I saw visions of God" (Ezekiel 1:1). This was when Ezekiel saw the Merkavah, the "Chariot" with which God governs the world. The storm-wind, fire, brightness, Chayot and Ofanim that Ezekiel saw all exist in Heaven, wherever that may be. Only at rare moments, however, does a tiny chink open in the thick clouds of concealment that hide the spiritual worlds from normal human consciousness, affording outstanding masters of the spirit a brief glimpse beyond time and space into the inner workings of the universe.
"Everything that Ezekiel saw, Isaiah also saw. But Ezekiel was like a villager who saw the King, while Isaiah was like a big city dweller who saw the King" (Chagigah 13b). This rabbinic comment offers insight into why Ezekiel's visions, such as those of the Chariot and Heavenly Temple, are described in such graphic detail, in contrast to Isaiah's. Several generations prior to Ezekiel, Isaiah attained even higher levels of prophecy, having been in the Land of Israel when the First Temple stood in all its glory. Isaiah too saw the Chariot and the Heavenly Temple, as in his first vision, which opens with the words: "I saw God sitting upon a throne, high and lofty, and His train filled the Temple" (Isaiah 6:1).
Isaiah, Ezekiel and all the prophets saw one and the same God. They saw the same Throne of Glory and Heavenly Temple. But Isaiah lived in times which were better and more conducive to exalted spiritual vision. In this sense Isaiah was like a city dweller, who is less easily excited by the glory and bright lights. In Isaiah's time it was not so necessary to reveal all the details of the vision.
However, by Ezekiel's time the people were in exile under foreign rule. Many were increasingly assimilated and cut off from the ancestral vision that had been transmitted from generation to generation ever since the entire Jewish People prophetically glimpsed into the Heavens as they crossed the Red Sea and when they stood at Sinai. Precisely because the people were now in exile and on a lower spiritual level, it was necessary to fuel the vision and keep it alive, and Divine Providence decreed that Ezekiel be granted prophecy even in exile and that he should record and transmit what he saw.
It is important to know that there is a spiritual law relating to prophecy. Prophecy can only be received in the Land of Israel called Eretz Israel. Prophecy is available to non Jews as well as Jews. It takes a level of Holiness and preparation using techniques taught in the Sefer Yetzirah. Eretz Israel is a level of consciousness as well as a physical land. The word Zion is another word for the level of consciousness of Jerusalem which relates to the essence of Eretz Israel.
When Ezekiel stood on the banks of the River Kvar and saw the heavenly "Chariot," it was a vision of the same heavenly order that had existed continuously from long, long before. The Hebrew word Kvar in fact means "before" or "already." When Ezekiel looked up at the sky, he saw the same stars and constellations at which Abraham had gazed. When the skies and heavens "opened up" for Ezekiel giving him a glimpse of the realm beyond physical space and time, it was through his use of methods of prophetic prayer and meditation that also went back to the author of Sefer Yetzirah.
Abraham's search for the power-source behind the manifest plurality of the world led him to the underlying coordinates and elements of creation as expressed in the letters of the Aleph Beit. From earliest childhood Abraham had faith that all the different powers in creation are interconnected as part of a single, unified, purposeful system or order. The stars and planets are governed by "angels" which in turn are governed by higher angels. Everything in creation is a manifestation of the power of the Sefirot, which are the ultimate coordinates and elements of creation, brought into being through the "Word of God", the letters of the Aleph Beit and their combinations. The purpose of Abraham's letter-manipulations was to connect with the Creator and harness the power of the letters so as to channel beneficial influences to the world.
Abraham transmitted his wisdom to Isaac, who taught it to Jacob. Jacob transmitted it to his sons, and especially Levi, who became chief guardian of the tradition. Levi passed it on to his son, Kehat, who passed it on to his son Amram. And Amram was father of the Lord of all the Prophets, Moses.
The plan of creation is that God should be revealed to all His creatures on all levels. Moses' greatness lay in his power to rise to the highest levels of prophecy ever achieved and bring his vision "down" so as to make it accessible to people on far lower levels. Thus Moses brought the Children of Israel to a state where "at the crossing of the Red Sea a simple maid saw more than Ezekiel," while at the Giving of the Torah at Sinai, God "opened up" all seven heavens to the Children of Israel (Mechilta on Exodus 15:2 and 19:11).
i do not think that Moses's greatness can be limited to this one aspect of his greatness. He is much more than this.
The "soul" of the Torah revealed at Sinai was the prophetic vision of the inner workings of the universe together with the prayer-power it gives to those who attain it. The Sanctuary that Moses built and the Temple that later took its place stand at the center of the Torah system as a holographic model of those inner workings and the principle focus of devotion and prayer. At the peak of Jewish life in Israel, prophecy (which was integrally bound up with the Temple in Jerusalem) could almost be said to have been the national occupation: the Talmud states that millions of people practiced prophecy in biblical times (Megillah 14a).
To further expand on this subject that millions practiced prophecy one must realize that each member of the Sanhedrin was a master of a school with many acolytes. Each member of the Sanhedrin had learned prophetic techniques from their master. They practiced repeatedly preparing themselves for HaShem to speak to them. Very few received this merit; yet the work of prophetic development did not go unrewarded. Each member of the Sanhedrin received the tools that allowed them to control the physical world at the level of the metaphorical level of building a remote control in addition to using a remote control. Each Sanhedrin member had the responsibility to pass down the information about the tools to the people interested. The acolytes chose the member of the Sanhedrin that resonated with their soul. This meant that they had a similar soul root since the techniques work based on soul roots.
Returning to the Translation
But with the moral degeneration that started to set in, the pursuit of prophecy began to be abused by "false prophets" and practitioners of foreign cults. The voice of true prophecy was increasingly forced to become that of reproof, while faithful practitioners of Abraham's methods of prayer-power had to conceal much of their knowledge from the wider public.
Thus, it was that the mystical dimension of the Torah tended to become hidden from view, leaving meticulous study and observance of the outer forms of the Law as the distinguishing hallmark of Judaism in the eyes of the majority of Jews and gentiles alike.
Nevertheless the mystical tradition or "Kabbalah" was pursued in a continuous tradition from biblical times onwards. Key figures in the transmission of the Oral Torah - from David, Solomon, Ezra and the Men of the Great Assembly to Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, Rabbi Akiva, and the other great Talmudic Sages - were at the same time supreme masters of mystical wisdom and devotion. Maaseh Bereishit, the "Work of Creation," dealing with the secrets of creation, and Maaseh Merkavah, the "Work of the Chariot," which is more concerned with devotion, meditation and prophecy, were the two main branches of the esoteric wisdom pursued in the private study chambers of the Sages of Israel. However, in the public study halls and synagogues it was the "Revealed Torah" of practical observance and moral improvement that was stressed, while the secrets of Torah were hinted at allusively in the wordplays and parables of Midrash.
The Work of Creation and the Work of the Chariot both utilize the tools taught in the Sefer Yetzirah. These are the initial techniques, then each of these "Work" (remember Eved translates as work or service) have their own tools once the initial tools are learned by the acolytes.
A body cannot live without a soul. The outer body of Torah law is truly alive only when it has inner spiritual meaning. The destruction of the Second Temple in the time of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai and the intensification of the exile under ruthless Roman persecution turned the Jewish dream into a horrendous nightmare. Precisely then Divine Providence decreed that the esoteric wisdom of the Torah should begin to shine forth beyond the confines of closed circles in order to sustain the nation and advance the world towards its ultimate goal.
At the height of the Roman persecution, permission was granted to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, outstanding student of Rabbi Akiva, to begin unveiling some of the secrets of Maaseh Beraisheet and Maaseh Merkavah in his mystical discourses and those of his disciples as transcribed in the Zohar and related literature. Yet even after this, many aspects of the esoteric wisdom were still kept completely secret, and the Zohar itself was for centuries available only to relatively restricted circles of scholars.The tribulations of exile have characterized many of the historical periods in which the secret wisdom of the Kabbalah was successively revealed to ever wider circles. This was the case in the 16th century, in the chaotic aftermath of the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain. It was then that an influx of Sages to the Holy City of Safed in the Galilee made it the center from which the Kabbalah, especially that of Rabbi Isaac Luria, the "ARI" (Lion), began to spread forth to the entire world.
The teachings of the ARI were put in writing by his outstanding student Rabbi Chaim Vital, in Etz Chaim, the "Tree of Life," and numerous other volumes. What emerges is a most complex, subtle, highly ramified system of multiple categories, subcategories, holy names and devotions.
The writings of the ARI contain all the keys to the celestial vision of Kabbalah as witnessed at Sinai and by all the prophets and embedded in the Bible, Midrash, Talmud and Zohar. But despite the increasing availability of kabbalistic literature, anyone who wanted to grasp the system required vast scholarship as well as strong resolve. There was no such thing as an introductory primer. The Zohar and writings of the ARI are voluminous and highly diffuse. In both cases the way the teachings are presented presupposes a grasp of the entire system. Even experienced Talmudists are likely to find these works quite baffling without the help of a reliable guide.
One of my teachers has related a significant number of stories about extremely bright and pure students of the Talmud who are expert in Talmud who are unable to make the transition to the study of the Kabbalah.
The reason there is no introductory primer is that was already revealed in the Sefer Yetzirah. The problem was most teachers were taught to constantly constantly conceal the techniques from larger groups and keep the study of Kabbalah within small groups. The result of this mistake to limit access to the tools of Kabbalah to limited groups when the plan of HaShem includes the possibility that all people will learn the prophetic techniques of the Sefer Yetzirah. There are some modern Kabbalists who imply or actually teach that the cause of the Showa, that each soul who died in the Showa had studied Kabbalah in earlier lifetimes and limited their teachings to small groups causing the time of Mashiach being delayed. That helps to explain the severity of the Showa since so many people suffered for centuries due to their/our unwillingness to teach Kabbalah to everyone.
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