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How the Renaissance Ended the Concealment of Kabbalah
The Ari – The Greatest
Creative Force of the
Renaissance
Preceding every new stage in the
evolution of desires, the appropriate
precursor appears. First, there was
Abraham; he was the Root. Then there
was Moses, representing Stage one,
followed by Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai
(Rashbi), who corresponds to Stage
Two. And now the time has come for
Stage Three.
The emergence of Stage Three in the
evolution of desires roughly
corresponds to the advent of the
Renaissance in Europe. Its harbinger
was the greatest Kabbalist since Rashbi: Isaac Luria (the Ari)—founder of the Lurianic Kabbalah, the most systematic
and structured school of Kabbalah. Today, it is the predominant teaching method, thanks to the 20th century
commentaries of Baal HaSulam, who interpreted the writings and adapted them to the scientific/academic mindset of
the 20th and 21st centuries.
Despite his short life, the Ari (1534-1572) produced numerous texts with the help of his prime disciple, Rav Chaim
Vital. The Ari did not write his texts by himself. Instead, he would speak and Chaim Vital would write down his words.
After the Ari’s early demise, Vital and several of his relatives compiled the Ari’s words into cohesive texts. for this
reason, many scholars have ascribed the Ari’s writings to Chaim Vital and not to his teacher. Yet, even though Vital
was the scribe, the provider of the information is undisputedly the Ari.

How the Ari Reformed the Wisdom of Kabbalah
In Stage Three there is an “inverted” modus operandi, where the act is reception but the intention is to give. This was
true for the initial four stages of desire. However, after the breaking of Adam’s soul, the prevailing intention in the
collective soul—of which we are all parts—has been inverted and regressed from bestowal to reception. And
because we are all parts of Adam’s soul, the hidden intention in all humans is to receive, as well. Clearly, when
everyone wishes to receive, and none wish to give, it induces an unsustainable situation.
Yet, all stages appear so we may correct them. At every level of Nature, this correction occurs naturally, because the
only way to sustain anything, from mineral through plant to animal, is to have all the elements contributing to the
survival of the mineral, plant, or animal. Yet, in humans, this (one) sustainable state must be achieved through man’s
awareness. Without awareness, we go where our desires take us, and in Stage Three, they begin to take an ominous
direction.
Indeed, the period from the Renaissance to the beginning of the 20th century saw two processes that fundamentally
changed people’s lives. One was the development of weapons, such as rifles and artillery, and the initiation of
maritime discovery voyages by intrepid explorers who conquered new lands and subsequently exploited their native
inhabitants and natural resources.
The other was the advent of modern science, but more than that—the “discovery” and extolling of the individual. This
latter shift manifested in the thriving of art in all its forms, and most important, in the booming of humane movements
such as Humanism and The Enlightenment. The Bill of Rights, the Edict of Nantes, and the Communist Manifesto are
only some of the numerous changes that have laid down the basis for what we now call “the free world.”
Alongside these profound transformations, Kabbalah needed its own “reformer.” At the deepest level of existence, the
shifts just mentioned were happening because a new level of desire had appeared, and this called for someone to
“make sense” of these changes. This was the role of the Ari: to introduce the correction method for Stage Three. This
is why the Ari’s method is the most systematic and structured compared to all his predecessors’ methods, matching
the scientific, rational thinking of his time.

The Little Known Reason Why the Renaissance Was a Great Period of Birth and
Rebirth
In the initial four stages of desire, Stage Three is special in the sense that it is the first time Creation initiates: it
“decides” to receive (though just a little) in order to bestow. Thus, when Stage Three of the desire appeared in
humanity, people and societies began to initiate changes in virtually every realm of life. New notions appeared and
old ones reappeared, and all prospered under the wings of the Renaissance. Religion, science, technology, art,
economy, politics (domestic and foreign), philosophy, and every other realm of life was scrutinized and modified, if
not revolutionized.
From the Kabbalistic perspective, these changes came about because the newly emerged desire of Stage Three
calls for active reception of pleasure. Hence, people became more active in their search to better their lives and their
aspiration for self-expression and self-determination as individuals. To realize their dreams, people began to develop
new technologies, liberate politics from the shackles of feudalism, and establish the basis for modern economy.
Today, people often cite an exponential increase in the pace of changes. Essays such as Kip P. Nygren’s “Emerging
Technologies and Exponential Change: Implications for Army Transformation,” published 2002 in Questia online
Library,109 books such as Living in the Environment: Principles, Connections, and Solutions (G. Tyler Miller and Scott
Spoolman), or the eye- opening You Tube video, “We are living in exponential times” are only three of numerous
attempts to describe how fast our world is changing. But if you take into account the fundamental shift that occurred
with the emergence of Stage Three in the evolution of desires, it is evident that the exponential growth has its roots
deep in the concepts and innovations that first emerged during the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance.
In Item 38 in Ashlag’s “ Introduction to the Book of Zohar” where he writes, “The will to receive in the animate… can
only generate needs and desires to the extent that they are imprinted in that creature alone.” The animate level that
Ashlag mentions corresponds to Stage Three in the initial four stages, which manifests a heightened level of desire to
receive, compared to Stage Two. At this level, the desire to receive “decides” to receive, as opposed to the automatic
reception and rejection in Stages one and Two. In that sense, it is more autonomous than its predecessors. As a
result, its corporeal manifestation—animals—is more active and autonomous than its preceding degree in the
pyramid—plants. In much the same way, when the desire to receive in humans reached Stage Three, it prompted an
increase in activity and aspiration for individual autonomy.

Why the Renaissance Necessitated the Disclosure of Kabbalah
The beginning of the new era was promising. The zeitgeist, at least among the more fortunate in society, was one of
liberation of minds and bodies, with such social upheavals as the Enlightenment, the Bill of Rights (first, the English
and later the American version), Humanism, Reformation, and the Edicts of Nantes. With the added thriving of
philosophy and science, it seemed as though soon everyone could enjoy the fruits of progress.
Yet, since at the bottom of all these encouraging shifts was the desire to receive pleasure in its broken, self-centered
form (and to an even greater extent than ever before), Kabbalists responded to this outburst as a call for action.
Kabbalists sensed that with the new possibilities that technology and science offered, as well as the heightened
desire for self-expression, a new method of correction was required.
Thus, they began to declare that it was time to come out and show the world the long-hidden wisdom of The Zohar.
Without it, they proclaimed, the world would not see a positive conclusion at the end of the new era. In the words of
The Vilna Gaon (GRA), which numerous Kabbalists echoed, “Redemption [from egoism] depends on the study of
Kabbalah.”
“How the Renaissance Ended the Concealment of Kabbalah” is based on the
book, Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests
into Mutual Benefit by Dr. Michael Laitman.
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