All’s Well that Ends Well
Optimism, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, is “a tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation.” By this definition, Kabbalists aren’t optimists; they don’t have to be. They know it will all end well. In fact, they say that it will end in the best possible way. By it, they are referring to the whole of creation, at all its levels, spiritual and corporeal, and at all times, since creation was first conceived and to all eternity.
If you read genuine Kabbalistic texts attentively, you will discover that according to Kabbalah, there isn’t any “bad” in creation whatsoever, and there never has been. The greatest Kabbalists, such as Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai, the Holy Ari, and Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), are individuals who reached the top of the spiritual ladder, perceived the very thought that started creation, and from that apex declared that there isn’t, never was, and never will be any “bad” in reality.
To help us understand why they made such statements, which, judging by today’s world, do not coincide with reality, they wrote books that explained the process of creation and the thought behind it. In the essay, “The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose,” Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag wrote that to perceive reality correctly, we need not examine it with our present perspective, but first achieve the purpose of reality. With this knowledge, he claimed, we will observe our world with new eyes.
Below is a direct translation of Baal HaSulam’s thought provoking words:
“By observing nature’s systems, we understand that any being … is placed under particular guidance. This is a slow and gradual growth by way of cause and effect, like a fruit on the tree is guided with favorable guidance to finally become a sweet and fine-looking fruit.
Go and ask a botanist, ‘How many phases the fruit undergoes from the time it becomes visible until it is completely ripe?’ Not only do its preceding phases show no evidence of its sweet and fine-looking end, but as if to vex, they show the opposite of the final outcome. The sweeter the fruit is at its end, the more bitter it is in the earlier phases of its development.
Thus, it is evident that His Guidance over the reality He has created is in the form of purposeful Guidance, regardless of the order of the phases of development, for they deceive us and prevent us from understanding their purpose, being always in an opposite position to their final shape.
It is about such matters that we say, “None are as wise as the experienced.” This is because only one who is experienced has the opportunity to examine creation in all its evolutionary phases, all the way through completion. He can soothe matters and not fear those faulty images that creation undergoes in … its development, and have faith in its worthy and handsome ripening.
Thus, we have thoroughly shown the conduct of His Providence in our world, which is a purely purposeful care. The attribute of goodness is not apparent before the arrival of the creation to completeness, to its final ripeness. On the contrary, it rather always takes a corrupt form in the eyes of the beholders. Hence, you see that God bestows only goodness upon His creatures, but that this goodness comes by way of purposeful care.”