On Lag B’Omer we commemorate the passing of the great Kabbalist, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, author of “The Book of Zohar.” The revelation Rabbi Shimon made signifies the giving of the Torah, the science of correction, to the whole world.
Humanity developed from generation to generation until Abraham revealed the method of connection above the crisis that developed in ancient Babylon. Then the nation of Israel experienced the Egyptian slavery and the Exodus from it, followed by the construction of the First and Second Temples, as well as other ups and downs. All the challenging events that befell this nation, and all of human history as a whole, seems to be a never-ending trial.
However, the entire path we went through until the arrival of Rabbi Shimon was simply our preparation for correction. After the destruction of the Second Temple, the nation of Israel has by and large lost the sensation of spirituality and was exiled from it. But in that state of exile, we received a gift in the form of a sage (a Tana), a Kabbalist of great stature. His special soul incorporated all the previous souls and unified them within it. That is why, together with his students, he was able to attain an extraordinary height, the final correction in his generation.
Baal HaSulam, who wrote the Sulam (Ladder) commentary on “The Book of Zohar,” writes that never in history has there been an attainment higher than the one achieved in the times of Rabbi Shimon and his generation. Such an attainment can happen again only at the end of correction. Now we are standing at its threshold.
Rabbi Shimon was unique in that he was able to connect this incredibly high level of attainment with our world. Though his attainment placed him on a high spiritual level, for all intents and purposes he lived a regular, material life after the destruction of the Second Temple. This was when the nation fell completely from the level of brotherly love to unfounded hatred, and this fall caused a complete disappearance of the perception of spirituality.
This is what we are currently experiencing in Israel. We have completely forgotten who we are, where we come from and what our mission is in the world.
Because Rabbi Shimon united these two extremes within him, he was able to write this great book, meaning to make a revelation from which the entire world would benefit. Without it, we would not have the opportunity to connect humanity in a positive manner.
We must take this example and remember that when we unite and connect above the opposing forces in our path, the good from Israel spills outward to the world. Yet when we are mistreating one another and do not set an example of brotherly love, the world views us with contempt.
It is not random that this example of disunity has erupted in such a prominent manner in the heart of Israel right when we are on the verge of setting this example. Hopefully, in the coming weeks, we will be able to correct the situation and provide a suitable example to the world.
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