And the reason for that (i.e., for the Messiah’s refusal to appear in our generation) as we’ve said is because those who do delve into Torah depreciate their own and Torah’s interior (aspect, by eschewing Kabbalah), and they regard the Torah’s interior as superfluous.
But they’re like blind people running their hands along a wall (see Isaiah 59:10).
That’s to say, those laudable souls who study Torah in depth and dedicate their lives to the punctilious observance of mitzvot in the hopes of encouraging the Messiah to arrive are barking up the wrong tree, if you will; they’re shortsightedly looking here (in the revealed Torah) for what’s actually there (in the concealed Torah).
For they thus strengthen their own exterior (aspect), meaning the advantages of their body (over their soul), and they likewise bestow more importance to the Torah’s exterior (aspect) than to its interior (one)…
That is, they lend more credence to their bodies than to their souls by favoring the more practical, this-worldly aspects of the Torah over the Kabbalah-based ones.
And they also enable the world’s exterior (aspects) to hold sway over its interior (ones).
That is, they thus seem to advocate and grant more importance to externals, which is so much more destructive since these individuals are the greatest Torah scholars and leaders.
For the exterior (aspect) of the Jewish Nation, meaning its less learned individuals, thus hold sway over and can undo the Jewish Nation’s interior (aspect), her Torah greats. And the exterior (aspect) of the other nations, their destructive elements, likewise hold sway over and are able to undo their interior (aspect). And the world’s exterior (aspect) holds sway over and undoes its interior (aspect as a consequence).
So, all externals overwhelm internals, which leads to the less learned elements of the Jews to hold sway over its Torah greats, and the more brutish elements of the other peoples to hold sway over their more righteous ones.
It’s (in fact) in just such a generation that destructive forces rear up their heads and most especially want to annihilate the Jewish Nation. (For) it’s said, “calamity only befalls the world for (the sins of) the Jewish Nation” (Yebamot 63).
Hence, since all that had been (stated) in the Zohar has come true (in our times); since (it’s also true that) disaster has struck the very best of us in particular (in the course of the Holocaust); and since the dignity that the Jewish Nation once enjoyed in Poland, Lithuania, etc. only abides with the remnant (of Torah greats) living in Israel now, it’s thus incumbent upon us to correct that dreadful wrong.
Each of us (of that caliber left) must take it upon himself with every fiber of his being and with all his means to bolster the Torah’s interior (aspect) and grant it its (rightful) place of honor above the Torah’s exterior (aspect) from now on (by studying the Zohar and Kabbalah).
Then each one of us (Torah greats ourselves) will be awarded with a bolstering of his own interior (aspect) over the needs of his exterior (aspect). But the capacity to do that will only come to the Jewish Nation (in its entirety) once the unlearned among us acknowledge and realize the value of the Torah greats over them and (begin to) listen to and obey them.
That is, once the Torah greats themselves delve into Kabbalah as they should they’ll nourish their own beings inside and out. And — the implication is — then they’ll appear in a new light in the eyes of the unlearned, who’ll admire and obey them by that point, study Kabbalah as well, and grow in their own beings. And once all that happen…
The interior (aspect) of the other nations will overpower its exterior (aspect) and subdue them. And the world’s interior (aspect) will likewise gloriously and nobly overpower the world’s exterior (aspect), and all the nations of the world will recognize and acknowledge the significance of the Jewish Nation.
Then the words, “God will have mercy on Jacob and will indeed choose Israel and set them in their own land: the foreigners will be joined with them and will cleave on to the house of Jacob” (Isaiah 14:1) will be fulfilled, as well as (the words) “they will carry your sons in their arms, and carry your daughters on their shoulders” (Isaiah 49:22). For as the Zohar (itself) says, “It is through (the study of) this work, the Zohar, that they’ll be freed from exile with mercy” (Parshat Nasah p. 124).
Amen, may it be so!
(c) 2013 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.
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Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).